(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The soldier boy, or, Tom Somers in the army, a story of the Great Rebellion"

THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 




^H^^l^ (XHi fTTlON 



THE SOLDIER BOY. 




On the Retreat from Bull Kun Tage 138. 



THE SOLDIER BOY; 



OB, 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 



#lora tt llije i^x^ui ^^h^lUtn. 



BY 



OLIVER OPTIC, 

ACTHOR OP "RICH ASD HUMBLE," "IN SCHOOL A^TD OCT," "THI BOAT ClUB," 

" ALL ABOARD," " XOW OR NEVER," " TRY AGAIN," " POOR AND PROUD," 

"UTILE BY UTILE," "THE RIVERDALE 8T0RT BOOKS," ETC. 



BOSTON: 
LEE AND SHEPARD, 

SUCCESSORS TO PHILLIPS, SAJfPSOX * CO. 

1864. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by 

WILLIAM T. ADAMS, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



ELECTBOTTPED AT THE 

Boston Stereotype Foundry , 
No. 4 Spring Lane. 



TO 



WILLIAM LEE, ESQ., 



Tliis Boole 



IS RESPECTFTLLY DEDICATED, 



BY HIS FRIEND 



WILLIAM T. ADAMS. 



6026G9 



THE ARMY AXD XA^' STORIES. 



In Foixr "Vol-umes. 



BY OLIVER OPTIC. 



L 
tut: S0I^I>IET1 BOY; 

Or, Toxn Soixiers in tlie J^vmy, 

n. 

THE SAHLOU BOY; 

Or, Jack Soixiers in tlie ^avy. 

(In Prepar&tion.) 
III. 

THE YOXJ>-0 EIEXJTE>-^I^Z\'T ; 

Or, The -A-d-ventures of an J^mmy Officer. 

A SEQUEL TO " THE SOLDIER BOY." 
(In Preparation.) 

IV. 
Tm: 'S'A.^'KIEIZ: 3rTI>I>Y; 

Or, Th.e -A-dventrires of a ^aval OfScer. 

A SEQUEL TO " THE SAILOR EOT." 
(In Prep&ntion.) 

(4) 



PREFACE. 



This volume is not altogether a military romance, though it 
contains the adventures of one of those noble-hearted and pa- 
triotic young men who went forth from homes of plenty and 
happiness to fight the battles of our imperilled country. The 
incidents of the story may be stirring and exciting; yet they 
are not only within the bounds of probability, but have been 
more than paralleled in the experience of hundreds of the gal- 
lant soldiers of the loyal army. 

The work is not intended to approach the dignity of a his- 
tory, though the writer has carefully consulted the ♦• authorities," 
both loyal and rebel, and has taken down the living words of 
enthusiastic participants in the stirring scenes described in this 
volume. He has not attempted to give a full picture of any 
battle, or other army operation, but simply of those move- 
ments in which the hero took a part. The book is a nar- 
rative of personal adventure, delineating the birth and growth 
of a pure patriotism in the soul of the hero, and describing 
the perils and privations, the battles and marches which he 
shared with thousands of brave men in the army of the Po- 
tomac. 

The author has endeavored to paint a picture of the true 
!• (6) 



I PREFACE. 

soldier, one who loves his country, and fights for her because 
he loves her; but, at the same time, one who is true to him- 
self and his God, while he is faithful to his patriotic impulses. 
The work has been a pleasure to me in its preparation, and 
I hope it will not disappoint the reasonable expectation of 
those partial friends whose smile is my joy, whose frown is my 
grief. But, more than all, I trust this humble volume will 
have some small influence in kindling and cherishing that gen- 
uine patriotism which must ever be the salvation of our land, 
the foundation of our national prosperity and happiness. 

'SVILIJAM T. ADAMS. 
Dorchester, Feb. 22, 1864. 



CONTENTS. 



CBJiPTSB PAGE 

I, The Battle of Pijichbbook, il 

II. The Somehs Family, 21 

III. Tami>-g ^ Traitok, 32 

IV. The Committee come out, and Tom goes rs, . . . . 41 
V. The Attic Chamber, 49 

VI. The Way is prepared, 58 

VII. A MiDXiGHT Adventure, 63 

VIII. SiGXUfG THE Papers, 77 

IX. The Departure 87 

X. Company K, 97 

XI. Ix Washtn-gtox, 107 

XII. " Ox TO RicinioxD," 113 

XIII. The Battle of Bull Rux, 127 

XIV. After the Battle, 137 

XV. Tom a Prisoxer, 1^7 

XVI. A Perplexing Question, 157 

XVII. DXXXER AXD D.VXGER, 10*3 

XVIII. The Rebel Soldier, i~6 

XIX. Through the Gap, 186 

XX. DO^^'N THE SHEXAXDOAH, li>6 

XXI. The Problem of Rations, 206 

(7) 



3 CONTENTS. 

XXII. The Picket Guard, 218 

XXIII. The End of the Voyage, 226 

XXIV. BuDD'9 Ferry, a36 

XXV. In the Hospital, 246 

XXVI. T03I IS sentimental, 256 

XXVII. The Confederate Deserter, 266 

XXVIII. On the Peninsl-la, 275 

XXIX. The Battle of Williamsbuug, 284 

XXX. More of the Battle, 2&J 

XXXI. Glory and Victory 302 

XXXII. «' Honorable Mention," 312 

XXXIII. LlEUTENA2fT SOMERS AND OTHERS, 321 



THE SOLDIER BOY; 



OR, 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY 



CHAPTER I. 

THE BATTLE OF PI^XHBROOK. 

J;^ ORT SUMTER has surrendered, mother : " 
shouted Thomas Somers, as he rushed into 
the room where his mother was quietly read- 
ing her Bible. 

It was Sunday, and the exciting news had been cir- 
culated about the usually quiet village of Pinchbrook 
Harbor. Men's lips were compressed, and their teeth 
shut tight together. They were indignant, for traitors 
had fired upon the flag of the United States. Men, 
women, and children were roused l)y the indignity 
offered to the national emblem. The cannon balls that 
struck the Avails of Sumter seemed at the same time to 
strike the souls of the whole population of the North, 
and never was there such a great awakening since the 



^2 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

Pilgrim Fathers first planted their feet upon the rock 
of Plymouth. 

" Fort Sumter has surrendered ! " shouted the indig- 
nant young patriot again, as his mother looked up from 
the blessed volume. 

" You don't say so I " exclaimed Mrs. Somers, as 
she closed the Bible, and removed her spectacles. 

" Yes, mother. The infernal rebels hammered away 
at the fort for two days, and at last we had to 
give in." 

" There'll be terrible times afore long," replied the 
old lady, shaking her head with prophetic earnestness. 

" The President has called for seventy-five thousand 
volunteers, and I tell you there'll be music before 
long ! " continued the youth, so excited that he paced 
the room with rapid strides. 

"What's the matter, Thomas?" asked a feeble old 
gentleman, entering the room at this moment. 

"Fort Sumter has surrendered, gran'ther," repeated 
Thomas, at the top of his lungs, for the aged man was 
quite deaf; " and the President has called for seventy- 
five thousand men to go down and fight the traitors." 

" Sho ! " exclaimed the old man, halting, and gazing 
with earnestness into the face of the boy. 

" It's a fact, gran'ther." 

" Well. Pra too old to go." muttered gran'ther 
Greene ; •• but I wa'n't older'n vou are when I shoul- 

m 

NcU 



TOAf S0MER3 IN THE ARMY. |3 

dered my lirelock in 1812. I'm too old and stiff to 
go now." 

"- How old were you, gran'ther, when you went to 
the war ? " asked Thomas, with more moderation than 
he had exhibited before. 

*' Only sixteen, Thomas ; but I was as tall as I am 
now," repUed the patriarch, dropping slowly and cau- 
tiously into the old-fashioned high-back chair, by the 
side of the cooking stove. 

'* Well, I'm sixteen, and I mean to go." 

" You, Thomas ! You are crazy ! You shan't do any 
thing of the kind," interposed Mrs. Somers. " There's 
men enough to go to the war, without such boys as 
you are." 

" You ain't quite stout enough to make a soldier, 
Thomas. You ain't so big as I was, when I went off 
to York state," added gran'ther Greene. 

'' I should like to go any how%" said Thomas, as he 
seated himself in a corner of the room, and began to 
think thoughts big enough for a full-grown man. 

" Fort Sumter has surrendered," shouted John Som- 
ers, rushing into the- house as much excited as his 
brother had been. 

" We've heard aU al)Out it, John," replied his 
mother. 

" The President has called for seventy-five thousand 
men, and in my opinion the rebels will get an awful 
2 



14 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

licking before they are a fortnight older. I should like 
to go and help do it." 

The exciting news was discussed among the mem- 
bers of the Somers family, as it was in thousands of 
other families, on that eventful Sunday. Thomas and 
John could think of nothing, speak of nothing, but Fort 
Sumter, and the terrible castigation which the rebels 
would receive from the insulted and outraged North. 
They were loyal even to enthusiasm ; and when they 
retired to their chamber at night, they ventured to ex- 
press to each other their desire to join the great army 
which was to avenge the insult offered to the flag of the 
Union. 

They were twin brothers, sixteen years of age ; but 
they both thought they were old enough and strong 
enough to be soldiers. Their mother, however, had 
promptly disapproved of such suggestions, and they had 
not deemed it prudent to discuss the idea in her 
presence. 

On Monday, the excitement instead of subsiding, was 
fanned to a fever heat ; Pinchbrook Harbor was in a 
glow of patriotism. Men neglected their usual occupa- 
tions, and talked of the affairs of the nation. Every per- 
son who could procure a flag hung it out at his window, 
or hoisted it in his yard, or on his house. The governor 
had called out a portion of the state militia, and already 
the tramp of armed men was heard in the neigh- 
boring city of Boston. 



ruM soMhRs ly the army. 



15 



Thomas Somers was employed in a store in the vil- 
lage, and during the forenoon he mechanically performed 
the duties of his position ; but he could think of nothing- 
but the exciting topic of the day. His blood was boilin*^ 
with indignation against those who had trailed our hal- 
lowed flag in the dust. He wanted to do something to 
redeem the honor of his country — something to wipe out 
the traitors who had dared to conspire against her peace. 
On his way home to dinner, he met Fred Pemberton, 
w^ho lived only a short distance from his own house. 

'' What do you think now, Fred ? " said Thomas. 

"What do I think? I think just as I always did — 
the North is wrong, and the South is right," replied 
Fred. 

*' Who fired upon Fort Sumter? That's the question," 
aaid Thomas, his eyes flashing with indignation. 

" Why didn't they give up the fort, then?" 

" Give up the fort ! Shall the United States cave in 
before the little State of South Carolina. Not by a two 
chalks ! " 

" I think the North has been teasinor and vexing the 
South till the Southerners can't stand it any longer. 
There'll be war now." 

*' I hope there will ! By gracious, I hope so ! " 

" I hope the South will beat ! " 

" Do you ? Do you, Fred Pemberton ? " demanded 
Tom, so excited he could not stand still. 



15 THE SOLDIER BOY, OS 

" Yes, I do. The South has the rights of it. If v:e 
had let their niggers alone, there wouldn't have been any 
trouble." 

" You are as blind as a bat, Fred. Don't you see 
this isn't a quarrel between the North and the South, 
but between the government and the rebels ? " 

" I don't see it. 'If the North had let the South 
alone, there wouldn't have been any fuss. I hope the 
North will get whipped, and I know she will." 

'-'' Fred, you are a traitor to your country ! " 

"No, I'm not!" 

" Yes, you are ; and if I had my way, I'd ride you 
on a rail out of town." 

" No, you wouldn't." 

" Yes, I would. I always thought you were a decent 
fellow ; but you are a dirty, low-lived traitor." 

" Better be careful what you say, Tom Somers ! " re- 
torted the young secessionist, angrily. 

" A fellow that won't stand by his country ain't fit to 
live. You are an out-and-out traitor." 

" Don't call me that again, Tom Somers," replied 
Fred, doubling up his fist. 

" I say you are a traitor." 

'' Take that, then." 

Tom did take it, and it was a pretty hard blow 
on the side of his head. Perhaps it was fortunate 
for our young patriot that an opportunity was thus 



TOM SOML'RS IX THE ARMY. 17 

afforded him lo evaporate some of his enthusiasm in the 
cause of his country, for there is no knowing what 
mipfht have been the consequence if it had remainc 1 
longer pent up in liis soul.. Of course, he struck back ; 
and a contest, on a small scale, between the loyalty 
of the Xurth and the treason of the South com- 
menced. IIow long it might have continued, or what 
might have been the result, cannot now be considered ; 
for the approach of a chaise interrupted the battle, 
and the forces of secession were reenforced by a full- 
grown man. 

The gentleman stepped out of his chaise with his 
whip in his hand, and proceeded to lay it about the 
legs and body of the representative of the Union side. 
This was more than Tom Somers could stand, and he 
retreated in good order from the spot, till he had placed 
himself out of the reach of the whip. 

""What do you mean, you young scoundrel?" de- 
manded the gentleman wdio had interfered. 

Tom looked at him, and discovered that it was Squire 
Pemberton, the father of his late opponent. 

'• He hit me first," said Tom. 

" He called me a traitor," added Fred. " I won't be 
called a traitor by him, or any other fellow." 

" What do you mean by calling my sou a traitor, you 
villain?" 

2* 



;13 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" I meant just what I said. He is a traitor. He 
said he hoped the South would beat." 

" Suppose he did. I hope so too," added Squire 
Pemberton. 

The squire thought, evidently, that this ought to set- 
tle the question. If he hoped so, that was enough. 

" Then you are a traitor, too. That's all I've got 
tx) say," replied Tom, boldly. 

" You scoundrel ! How dare you use such a word 
to me ! " roared the squire, as he moved towards the 
blunt-spoken little patriot. 

For strategic reasons, Tom deemed it prudent to 
fall back ; but as he did so, he picked up a couple 
of good-sized stones. 

" I said you were a traitor, and I say so again," 
said Tom. 

" Two can play at that game," added Fred, as he 
picked up a stone and Jhrew it at Tom. 

The Union force returned the fire with the most 
determined energy, until one of the missiles struck the 
horse attached to the chaise. The animal, evidently 
having no sympathy with either party in this minia- 
ture contest, and without considering how much damage 
he might do the rebel cause, started off at a furious 
pace when the stone struck him. He dashed down 
the hill at a fearful rate, and bounded away over the 
plain that led to the Harbor. 



TO AT SOMERS I A THE ARMY. |9 

Squire Pemberton and his son 'had more interest in 
the fate of the runaway horse than they had in the 
issue of the contest, and botli started at the tcjp of 
their speed in pursuit. But they might as well have 
chased a flash of lightning, or a locomotive going at 
the rate of fifty miles an hour. 

Tom Somers came down from the bank which he 
had ascended to secure a good position. He had done 
rather more than he intended to do ; but on the whole 
he did not much regret it. He watched the course 
of the spirited animal, as he dashed madly on to de- 
struction. The career of the horse was short ; for in 
the act of turning a corner, half a mile from the spot 
where Tom stood, he upset the chaise, and was him- 
self thrown down, and, being entangled in the harness, 
was unable to rise before a stout man had him by 
the head. 

'• I wish that chaise had been the southern confed- 
eracy," said Tom to himself, philosophically, when lie 
saw the catastrophe in the distance. " T\''ell, it served 
you right, old Secesh ; and I'll bet there ain't many 
folks in Pinchbrook Harbor that will be willinj? to 
comfort the mourners." 

^\ ith this consoling assurance, Tom continued on his 
way home. At dinner, he gave the family a faithful 
account of the transaction. 

"You didn't do right, Thomas," said his mother. 



20 THE SOLDIER BOY, OB 

" He hit me first." 

" You called him a traitor." 

'' He is a traitor, and so is his father." 

"I declare, the boys are as full of fight as an egg is 
of meat," added gran'ther Greene. 

" You haven't seen the last of it yet, Thomas," said 
the prudent mother. 

" No matter, Tom ; I'll stand by you," added John. 

After dinner, the two boys walked down to the 
Harbor together. 



TOAf SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 



21 



CHAPTER II. 



THE SOMERS FAMILY. 



A^J^'HE town of Pinchbrook is not a great distance 
/ I from Boston, with which it is connected by rail- 

Vjy^ road. If any of our young readers are of a 
geographical turn of mind, and are disposed to ascertain 
the exact locality of the place, we will save them any 
unnecessary trouble, for it is not laid dowTi on any map 
with which we are familiar. AVe live in times of war, 
and probably our young friends have already learned the 
meaning of " military necessity." Our story is essen- 
tially a military story, and there are certain military 
secrets connected with it which might be traced out if 
we should inform our inquisitive readers exactly where 
Pinchbrook is situated. 

Squire Pemberton, we doubt not, is very anxious to 
find out certain persons connected with some irregular 
proceedings in and around his house on the evening of 
Monday, April 16th. Fidelity to the truth of history 
compels us to narrate these proceedings in our humble 
volume ; but we should exceedingly regret thereby to get 



22 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

any of our friends into a scrape by informing the squire 
that they were active participants in the scenes of that 
eventful night, or to say any thing which would enable 
him, a lawyer, to trace out the authors of the mischief 
through these pages. Therefore we cannot say where 
Pinchbrook is, or even give a hint which would enable 
our readers to fix definitely its locality. 

Pinchbrook is a town of about three thousand inhab- 
itants, engaged, as the school books would say, in agri- 
culture, manufactures, commerce, and the fisheries, 
which, rendered into still plainer English, means that 
some of the people are farmers ; that wooden pails, 
mackerel kegs, boots and shoes, are made ; that the 
inhabitants buy groceries, and sell fish, kegs, pails, and 
similar w^ares ; and that there are about twenty vessels 
OA^Tied in the place, the principal part of which are 
fishermen. 

We have not the agricultural and commercial sta- 
tistics of the place at hand ; but the larger territorial 
part of the town was devoted to the farming interest, 
and was rather sparsely populated, while the principal 
village, called Pinchbrook Harbor, was more densely 
peopled, contained two'fetores, four churches, one wharf, 
a blacksmith shop, and several shoe and bucket manu- 
factories. 

We are willing: to acknowledge that Pinchbrook is 
rather a singular name. The antiquarians have not 



TOM SOMEBS IX THE ARMY. 23 

yet had an opportunity to determine its origin ; but 
our private opinion is that the word is a corruption 
of Punch-hvodk. Perhaps, at some remote period in 
the history of the town, before the Sons of Temper- 
ance obtained a foothold in the place, a villanous 
mixture, known to topers under the general appellation 
of " punch," may have been largely consumed by the 
Pinchbrookers. Though not a very aged person our- 
self, we have heard allusions to festive occasions where, 
metaphorically, the punch was said to "flow in streams." 
Possibly, from " streams " came " brooks," — hence, 
" Punchbrook," — which, under the strange mutations 
of time, has become '• Pinchbrook." But wc are not 
learned in these matters, and we hope that nothing 
we have said will bias the minds of antiquarians, and 
prevent them from devoting that attention to the origin 
of the word which its importance demands. 

The Somers family, which wc have already partially 
introduced, occupied a small cottage not quite a mile 
from Pinchbrook Harbor. Captain Somers, the head of 
the family, had been, and was still, for aught his wife 
and children knew, master of the schooner Gazelle. 
To purchase this vessel, he had heavily mortgaged his 
house and lands in Pinchbrook to Squire Pemberton. 
_^But his voyages had not been uniformly successful, 
though the captain believed that his earthly possessions, 
after discharging all his liabilities, would amount to 
about five thoupand dollars. 



24 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

The mortgage note would become due in June, and 
Captain Somers had been making a strong effort to realize 
upon his property, so as to enable him to pay off the 
obligation at maturity. Captain Somers had a brother 
■svho was familiarly known in the family as uncle Wy- 
man. He had spent his life, from the age of eighteen, 
in the South, and at the time of which we write, he 
was a merchant in Norfolk. 

Captain Somers and his brother had been interested 
together in certain mercantile transactions, and uncle 
Wyman, being the business man, had the proceeds of 
these ventures in his own hands. 

On the lOtli of April, only two days before the 
bombardment of Fort Sumter, Captain Somers had 
sailed in the Gazelle, with an assorted cargo, for Nor- 
folk. Before leaving home he had assured his wife 
that he should not return Avithout effecting? a settle- 
ment w^ith "Wyman, who had postponed it so many 
times, that the honest sailor began to fear his brother 
did not mean to deal justly with him. Nothing had 
been heard of the Gazelle since her departure from 
Boston. 

Uncle Wyman Avas Ivuown to be a northern man 
with southern principles, while his brother, though not 
in the habit of saying much about politics, was fully 
committed on the side of the government, and was 
willing \o sustain the President in the use of all the 



TOM SOAfERS IX THE ARMY. 26 

coercion that might be necessary to enforce obedience 
to the laws. The threatening aspect of affairs at the 
Soiitli had made Captain Somers more than ever 
anxious to have his accounts adjusted, as all his earthly 
possessions, except the schooner, were in the hands 
of his brother ; and the fact that uncle Wyman was so 
strong an advocate of Southern rights, had caused him 
to make the declaration that he would not return with 
out a settlement. 

The financial affairs of the Somers family, therefore, 
were not in a very prosperous condition, and the sol- 
vency of the house depended entirely upon the adjust- 
ment with uncle AVyman. The mortgage note which 
Squire Pemberton held would be due in June, and as 
the creditor was not an indulgent man, there was a 
prospect that even the little cottage and the little farm 
mijiht be wrested from them. 

The family at home consisted of Mrs. Somers and 
three children. The two oldest daughters were married 
to two honest, hard-working fishermen at the Harbor. 
Thomas and John were twins, sixteen years of age. 
The former had a place in one of the stores at the 
village, and the latter occasionally went a fishing trip 
with his brothers-in-law. Both of the boys had been 
brought up to work, and there was need enough now 
that they should contribute what they could to the 
support of the family. The youngest child, Jane, was 
8 



26 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

but eleven years of age, and went to school. Mrs. 
Somers'a brother, a feeble old man, a soldier in the war 
of 1812, and a pensioner of the government, had been 
a member of the family for twenty years ; and was 
familiarly known in town as •• Gran'thcr Green." 

Having thus made our readers acquainted with Pinch- 
brook and the Somers family, we are prepared to con- 
tinue our story. 

Thomas and John walked down to the Harbor to- 
gether after dinner. The latter had listened with in- 
terest and approbation to his brother's account of the 
'' Battle of Pinchbrook," as he facetiously called it ; 
and perhaps he thought Thomas might need his as- 
sistance before he reached the store, for Fred and his 
father would not probably be willing to let the matter 
rest where they had left it. 

We are sorry not to be able to approve all the acts 
of the hero of this volume ; but John, without asking 
our opinion, fully indorsed the action of his brother. 

" Fred is a traitor, and so is his father," said lie, as 
they passed out at the front gate of the little cottage. 

" That's so. Jack ; and it made my blood boil to 
hear them talk," replied Thomas. " And I couldn't 
help calling things by their right names." 

" Bully for you, Tom I " added John, as he turned 
round, and glanced at the house to assure himself 
they were out of the hearing of their mother. " Be- 



TOM SOMEBS IX THE ARMY. 27 

t"\veen you and me, Tom, there will be music in 
Pinchbrook to-uight." 

He lowered his voice, and spoke in tones big with 
mystery and heavy with importance. 

*• Wliat do you mean?" asked Thomas, his interest 
excited by the words and manner of his brother. 

'' There is fun ahead." 

" Tell me what it's all about." 

"You won't say a word — will you?" 

" Of course I won't." 

" Not to mother, I mean, most of all." 

" Certainly not." 

" Squire Pemberton has been talking too loud for 
his own good." 

" I know that ; he was in the store this forenoon, and 
JefF Davis himself is no bigger traitor than he is." 

*' Some of the people are going to make him a call 
to-night." 

"What for?" 

"What do you suppose? Can't you see through a 
millstone, Tom, when there is a hole in it?" 

" I don't know what you mean." 

" You can come with us if you like, and then you 
will know all about it," added John, mysteriously. 

"But what arc you going to do?" 

" We arc "roini? to make him hoist the American 
flag on' his house, or hang it out of his window." 



28 ^-^-^ SOLDIER BOT, OR 

" Well, suppose he won't." 

" Then we'll hano^ him where the flaof ouojht to be. 
"We'll pull the house do-vNTi over his head." 

" I'm with you, Jack," replied Thomas, with en- 
thusiasm. 

" We won't have a traitor in Pinchbrook. If we 
can't cure him, we'll ride him on a rail out of the 
town." 

" I don't know as you and I ought to get into this 
scrape," added Thomas, thoughtfully, 

" Why not ? " 

" You know the squire has a mortgage on our 
house, and he may get ugly." 

" Let him, if he likes. I'm not going to tolerate a 
traitor because he has a mortgage on my father's 
house. Besides, that is a fair business transaction ; 
the squire gets his interest." 

" Mother is afraid of him, as she is of the evil 
spirit." 

" Women are always timid," said John, sagely. 

"By George! there comes the very man himself!" 
exclaimed Thomas, as he discovered a horse and 
chaise slowly approaching. 

"So it is ; that old chaise looks rather the worse 
for the wear. It looks as thousrh it had been throuGrh 

CD O 

the w^ars." 

The vehicle did bear very evident marks of hard 



TOM SOMrjiS /A Till: ARMY. 29 

usage. One of the shaits was brokeu, the dasher, 
wrenched off, and the top stove in. The horse was 
covered with nuid, and limped badly from the eifects 
of his fall. The broken shaft and the harness were 
now plentifully adorned with ropes and old straps. 
In fact, the catastrophe had utterly ruined all claim 
which the chaise ever might have had to be consid- 
ered a " hahnsomc kerridge." 

'' There'll be fun nearer home, I reckon," said 
John, as he obtained his first view of the sour visage 
of the squire. 

'* Can't help it," added Thomas. 

" Keep a stiff upper lip, Tom." 

" I intend to do so." 

" Don't say a word about to-night, Tom." 

*' Of course not." 

When the chaise had approached near enough to 
enable the squire to recognize the author of his mis- 
fortunes, he stopped the horse, and got out of the 
vehicle, with the whip in his hand. 

" Xow, you young scoundrel, I will teach you to 
insult me and my sou, and destroy my property. 
Stay in the chaise, Fred, and hold the horse," he 
added to his son. 

But there was not much need of holding the horse 
now, for he was too lame to run fast or far. Thomas 
and John came to a halt ; and if the squire had been 
3* 



30 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

a prudent man, he might have seen by the flash of 
their eyes, that he was about to engage in an unsafe 
operation. 

" I am going to horsewhip you within an inch of 
your life, you villain, you ! " roared the squire, bran- 
dishing the whip. 

"No, you aro not," replied Thomas, coolly. 

" If you drop tlio weight of that lash on my 
brother, I'll smash your head," added John. 

The squire paused, and glanced at the wiry form 
of the young sailor. Better thoughts, or at least wiser 
ones, came to his aid. 

" I can bring you to your senses in another way," 
said he, dropping his whip, and getting into the 
chaise again. " You will hear from me before the 
week is out." 

'• Let him go ; don't say a word, Tom," added 
John. 

" He will prosecute me, I suppose he means by 
that." 

" Let him prosecute and be hanged I I'll bet by 
to-morrow morning he will think better of it. At 
any rate, he will find out what the people of Pinch- 
brook tlijnk of him." 

The boys resumed their walk, and soon reached 
the store, where they found the group of idlers, that 
always frequent shops in the country, busily engaged 



Toy/ A'OJ/AA'S /.V TIIK AliAfY. ^ 

in discussing the afi'air in wliitli Tliomas had been 
the principal actor. As the boys entered, the hero of 
the Pinchbrook Battle was saluted with a volley of 
applause, and his conduct t'ully approved and com- 
mended, for a copperhead in that day was an abom- 
ination to the people. 



52 



THE SOLDIER BOY, OJi 



CHAPTER III. 



TA^HNG A TRAITOR. 




ITH the exception of Squire Pemberton, 
Piuclibrook was a thoroughly loyal town ; 
and the people felt that it was a scandal 
and a disgrace to have even a simple traitor within its 
borders. The squire took no pains to conceal his trea- 
sonable sentiments, though the whole town was in a 
blaze of patriotic excitement. On the contrary, he had 
gone out of his way, and taken a great deal of pains, to 
condemn the government and the people of the North. 

Squire Pemberton Avas a wealthy man, and he had 
always been a person of great influence in the place. 
He had occupied all the principal official positions in 
town and county. He had come to regard himself, as 
his toAvnsmen were for the most part willing to regard 
him, as the social and political oracle of the place. 
What he thought in town meeting was generally the 
sense of his fellow-citizens, and when he expressed 
himself in words, his word was law. 

When, on Sunday morning, with Fort Sumter in ruins, 



TOM SOMERS IX THE Ali.UY. 33 

vrith the national flag trodden under the feet of trahors, 
with the government insuhed and threatened, Squire 
Pemberton ventured to speak in tones of condemnation 
of the free North, the people of Pinchbrook listened 
coldly, at lirst, to the sayings of their oracle ; and •when 
he began to abuse the loyal spirit of the North, some 
ventured to dissent from him. The oracle was not in 
the habit of having men dissent, and it made him angry. 
His treason became more treasonable, his condemnation 
more bitter. Plain, honest men, to whatever party they 
might have belonged, were disgusted with the great man 
of Pinchbrook ; and some of them ventured to express 
their disapprobation of his course in very decided terms. 
Some were disposed to be indulgent because the Squire 
had a sister in Georgia who had married a planter. But 
there was not found a single person, outside of his own 
family, who was mean enough to uphold him in his 
treacherous denunciation of the government. 

The squire was too self-sufficient and opinionated to 
be influenced by the advice of friends or the warning ol' 
those who had suddenly become his enemies. He had 
80 often carried the town to his own views, that, perhaps, 
he expected to manufacture a public sentiment in Pinch- 
brook that would place the town on the side of the reb- 
els. All day Sunday, and all day Monday, he rode 
about the Harbor preaching treason. He tried to con- 
vince the people that the South had all the right, and the 



34 TEE SOLDrER BOY, OR 

North all the wrong ; but he had never found them so 
obstinate and incredulous before. 

Towards night one of the ministers ventured to sug- 
•T-est to him that he was sowinp^ the wind, and would 
reap the whirlwind. The good man even hinted that he 
had roused a storm of indignation in the tovai which he 
might find it difficult to allay. 

The squire laughed at the minister, and told him he 
was not afraid of any thing. He intended to speak his 
honest sentiments, as every citizen had a right to do ; 
and he would like to see any man, or any body of men, 
wlio would dare to meddle with him. 

" I am afraid you ^vill see them, Squire Pemberton," 
added the minister. 

'-' Let them come where they please and when they 
please." 

•' "What "will you do? TVTiat is your single arm against 
scores of strong men ? " 

" Nothing, perhaps, but I don't fear them. I am true 
to my convictions ; why need I fear?" 

" I think your convictions, as you call them, are de- 
luding you. Do you think Benedict Arnold's convic- 
tions, if he had any, would have saved his neck from the 
halter?" 

" Do you mean to compare me to Benedict Arnold, 
sir?" 

" I came to you, as a friend, to warn you of impending 



TUM SOMKHS IN THE ARMY. 35 

danger ; and, as your friend, I am compelled to say that 
I don't see much difference between your position and 
that of Benedict Arnold." 

'' Do you mean to insult me ? " 

" Not at all, sir. I was only expressing my honest 
conviction. Instead of placing yourself on the side of 
your government, on the side of law and order, you are 
going about Pinchbrook Harbor denouncing the legiti- 
mate government of your country, and pleading the cause 
of rebels and traitors." 

*' Am I not at liberty to say what I please of the gov- 
ernment?" 

'* In ordinary times, you are. Just now, the country 
is in a state of war, and he who is not for the flas: is 
against it. You may criticise the government as its 
friend, but not as its foe. When armed men conspire 
against the peace of the land, he who pleads their cause 
is a traitor — nay, sir, don't be angry ; these are my 
convictions." 

" Political parsons have been the ruin of the country," 
sneered the squire. " That is my conviction." 

" Squire Pemberton, I beg you not to be rash. If you 
must cherish these pernicious views, I entreat you, keep 
them to yourself. You may think what you please, but 
the utterance of treason makes a traitor." 

" I shall proclaim my views from the housetop," re- 
plied the squire, angrily, as he abruptly turned away 
from tho mini««ter. 



36 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

The squire continued obdurate to tlie last. Neither 
the persuasions of his friends nor the threats of his ene- 
mies had any cifect in silencing his tongue ; and as late 
as sundown on that day of the Great Awakening he was 
pouring treachery and treason into the ears of a neigh- 
bor who happened to pass his house. Half an hour later 
in the day, there was' a great gathering of men and boys 
at the bridge on the outskirts of the village. They were 
singing Hail Columbia and the Star-spangled Banner. 
Thomas and John Somers Avere there. 

Presently the assemblage began to move up the road 
which led to Squire Pemberton's house, singing ]f)atriotic 
songs as they marched. It was a multitude of persons 
for Pinchbrook ; and no doubt the obnoxious oracle 
thought so when he saw the sea of heads that sur- 
rounded his dwelling. If this was a mob, it was cer- 
tainly a very orderly mob, for the crowd thus far had 
done nothinsT worse than to sinor the national airs. 

The arrangements had all been made before the multi- 
tude started from the place of rendezvous. Three gen-, 
tlemen, the principal of whom was Captain Barney, had 
been appointed a committee to wait upon the squire, and 
politely request him to display the American flag on his 
premises. 

In the road, in front of the house, a large -fire had 
been kindled, which threw a broad, bright glare on the 
house and the surrounding grounds. It was as light as 



TOM SOBERS IX THE ARMY'. JJ7 

day ill tlio vicinity when the committee Avalked up to the 
front door of the house and rang the bell. The squire 
answered the summons himself. 

'' Squire Pembcrton," said Captain Barney, " your fel- 
low-citizens, about two hundred in number, have called 
upon you with a simple and reasonable request." 

*' AMiat is it?" demanded the squire. 

" That you hoist the Stars and Stripes on your 
house." 

" I won't do it ! " roared the victim, as he slammed 
the door in the faces of the committee. 

''That is insolence," said Captain Barney, quietly. 
" We will go in." 

The captain led the way ; but the door had been 
locked upon them. The shoulders of three stout men 
pressed against it, and the bolt yielded. 

"AVhat do you mean, you villains?" thundered the 
squire, as he confronted the committee in the entry. 

'' You were so impolite as to close the door in our 
faces before we had finished our story," replied the im- 
movable old sea captain. 

"IIow dare you break in my door?" growled the 
squire. 

"We shall do worse than that, squire, if you don't 
treat us respectfully." 

" A man's house is his castle," added the squire, a 
little more moderately. 
4 



38 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

*' That's very good law, but there isn't a house in 
Pinchbrook that is big enough or strong enough to shield 
a traitor from the indignation of his fellow-citizens. "We 
do not purpose to harm you or your property if you be- 
have like a reasonable man." 

" You shall suifer for this outrage," gasped the squire, 
whose rage was increased by the cool and civil manner 
of Captain Barney. 

" AMien you closed the door in my face, I had inti- 
mated that your fellow-citizens wish you to display the 
national flag." 

" I refuse to do it, sir." 

"Consider, squire, what you say. The people have 
made up their minds not to tolerate a traitor within the 
corporate limits of the town of Pinchbrook." 

" I am no traitor." 

" That is precisely what we wish you to demonstrate 
to your fellow-citizens assembled outside to witness an 
exhibition of your patriotism." 

" I will not do it on compulsion." 

" Then, sir, we shall be obliged to resort to disagreea- 
ble measures." 

" What do you mean by that, sir?" asked the squire, 
who was evidently alarmed by the threat. " Do you 
mean to proceed to violence ? " 

" We do. Squire Pemberton," answered Captain Bar- 
ney, decidedly. 



TO.yf so.^fjiis jy rut: ahmy. ^9 

'• O my country ! " sighed the victim, *•' has it come to 
this ? The laws will no longer protect her citizens." 

'' That's very fine, sir. Do you expect the laws to 
protect you while you are aiding and abetting those who 
arc trying to destroy them? Is there any law to protect 
a traitor in his treason? But we waste time, Squire 
Pcmberton. Will you display the American flag?" 

"■ Suppose I refuse ? " 

" We will pull your house down over your head. We 
will give you a coat of tar and feathers, and remove 
you beyond the limits of the town. If you ever come 
back, we will hang you to the nearest tree." 

'' Good Heaven ! Is it possible that my fellow-citi- 
zens are assassins — incendiaries ! " 

'' Your answer, squire." 

" For mercy's sake, husband, do what they ask," inter- 
posed his mfe, Avho had been an anxious listener in the 
adjoining room. 

" I must do it," groaned the squire, speaking the 
truth almost for the first time in forty-eight hours. 
*' Alas ! where is our boasted liberty of speech I " 

'' Fudge ! squire," replied Captain Barney, contempt- 
uously. " If your friend Jeft' Davis should come to 
Massachusetts to-morrow, to preach a crusade against 
the North, and to raise an army to destroy the free insti- 
tutions of the country, I suppose you think it would be 
an outrage upon free speech to put him down. We 
don't think so. Fp with the flag, squire." 



40 "i'BE SOLDI EJi BOY, J? a 

" Fred, you may hang the flag out at the front' win- 
dow up stairs," said the squire to his son. 

" All right, squire. Now a few words more, and we 
bid you good night. You may iJnnk what you please, 
but if you utter another word of treason in Pinchbrook 
during the term of your natural life, the party outside 
will carry out the rest of the programme." 

By this time Fred Pemberton had fastened the flag to 
one of his mother's clothes poles, and suspended it out 
of the window over the porch. It was hailed with three 
tremendous cheers by the multitude who were in waiting 
to discipline the squire, and exorcise the evil spirit of 
treason and secession. 

The work of the evening was finished, not wholly to 
the satisfaction, perhaps, of a portion of the younger 
members of the assemblage, who would gladly have 
joined in the work of pillage and destruction, but much 
to the gratification of the older and steadier portion of 
the crowd, who were averse to violent proceedings. 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 4I 




CHAPTER IV. 

THE COMMITTEE COME OUT, AND TOM GOES IN. 

HILE the committee which the loyal citi- 
zens of Pinchbrook had appointed to eon- 
duct their case with Squire Pemberton 
were in the -house, engaged in bringing the traitor to 
terms, the younger members of the assemblage were 
very impatient to know how matters were progressing. 
Thomas Somers was particularly anxious to have the 
aihiir brought to a crisis. In vain he and a few other 
of the young loyalists attempted to obtain a view of the 
interior of the house, where the exciting interview was 
in progress. 

Captain Barney, on shore as well as at sea, was a 
tliorough disciplinarian. Of course, he was aware that 
his proceedings were technically illegal ; that in forcing 
liimself into the house of the squire he Avas breaking 
tlie law of the land ; but it seemed to him to be one of 
those cases where prompt action was necessary, and the law 
was too tardy to be of any sen^ice. He was, however, 
determined that the business should be done with as 
4* 



42 THE SOLDI EH h U Y , OH 

little violence as possible, and he had instructed the citi- 
zens at the bridge to do no needless injury to the prop- 
erty or the feelings of the squire or his family. 

When he entered the house, he had stationed three 
men at the door to prevent any of the people from fol- 
lowing him. He had also directed them not to enter the 
yard or gi'ounds of the house until he gave the signal. 
These directions proved a great hardship to the boys in 
the crowd, and they were completely disgusted when 
they saw the flag thrown loose from the front window. 

The mansion of Squire Pemberton was an old-fash- 
ioned dwelling, about a hundred feet from the road. In 
front of it was a green la^vn, adorned with several large 
buttonwood trees; There was no fence to enclose what 
was called tlie front yard. The crowd was assembled 
on this laA\Ti, and agreeably to the directions of the 
leader, or chairman of the committee, none of them 
passed into the yard in the rear and at the end of the 
house, which was separated from the lawn by a picket 
fence. 

Boys are instinctively curious to know what is going 
on, and the "living room" of the squire, in which the 
exciting conversation "was taking place, was in the rear 
of the house. The ^vindows on the front were dark and 
uncommunicative. Tlie boys were restless and impa- 
tient ; if there was to be any fun, they wanted to see it. 
Thomas was as impatient as his fellows, and being more 



T O M a OMEUS 1 y TU L A H M Y . 43 

euterprisiug thau the others, he determined, while obey- 
ing the instructions of Captain Barney in the spirit, to 
disobey them in the letter. 

He had been a sulferer to the extent of two great 
wales on the calves of his legs by the treason of the 
squire, and no doubt he thought he ought to be regarded 
as an exception to those who were called on to observe 
the instructions of the chairman of the committee. 
Leaving the group of inquiring minds near the front 
door of the house, he walked down the driveway till he 
came to a rail fence, through which he crawled, and en- 
tered the field adjoining the garden of the squire. His 
fellow-citizens, men and boys, were too intently watching 
the house to heed him, and no one noticed his enterpris- 
ing movement. 

From the field, he entered the garden, and made his 
way to the rear of the house. But even here, he was 
doomed to disappointment, for Mrs. Pemberton had 
drawn her curtains. Our hero Avas not, however, to be 
utterly defeated, and as the curtains had not been fitted 
by an accomplished upholsterer, there were openings on 
either side, through which he might command a full 
view of the interior of the r©oni. 

Thomas proceeded slowly and cautiously to obtain a 
position which would enable him to gi-atify his curiosity, 
and witness the humiliation of the haughty squire. Be- 
neath the window, which he had chosen to look throush. 



44 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

there was a cellar door, from which a pile of seaweed, 
placed upon it to keep the frost out of the cellar, had 
just been removed. The adventurous inquirer crept up 
the slippery boards, and gained the coveted position. He 
could not only see the committee and the squire, but he 
could hear all they said. He was perfectly delighted 
with the manner in which the captain put the question to 
the squire ; and when the latter ordered Fred to hang out 
the flag, he was a little disposed to imitate the masculine 
occupants of the hen-house, a short distance from his 
perch ; but Tom, as we liave before intimated, had a 
, very tolerable idea of the principles of strategy, and had 
the self-possession to hold his tongue, and permit the 
triumphant scene within to pass without a crow or a 

' cheer. 

The battle had been fought and the victory won ; and 

. though Tom felt that he Avas one of the victors, he 
deemed it prudent, for strategical reasons, to commence 
a retreat. The cellar doors, as we have before hinted, 
were very slippery, having been thorouglily soaked with 
moisture while covered with the seaweed. When the 
hero of this unauthorized reconnoissancc wheeled about 
to commence his retreat, his feet incontinently slipped up 
upon the inclined surface of the doors, and he came 
do-\ATi heavily upon the rotten boards. This, in itself, 
would have been but an inconsiderable disaster, and he 
might still have withdraT\Ti from the inconvenient local- 



TO.V SOMERS ly THE All MY. 45 

ity, if circumstances had not conspired against him, as 
circumstances sometimes ■will, when they ought to be 
conciliatory and accommodating. The force with which 
Tom fell upon the decayed boards was too much for 
them, and the unlucky adventurer became another victim 
to the treachery of rotten wood, which has hurled so 
many thousands from time into eternity. 

But Tom was not hurled so far as that on the present 
occasion, though for all practical purposes, for the suc- 
ceeding half hour, he might as well have been a hundred 
fathoms under water, or beneath the wreck of a twenty- 
ton locomotive at the bottom of the river. That cellar 
door was a bad place to fall through, which may be ac- 
counted for on the supposition that it was not made to 
fall through. In his downward progress, Tom had un- 
luckily struck his head against the side of the house ; and 
when he landed at the bottom of the stairs, he was ut- 
terly oblivious to all distinctions between treason and 
loyalty. Tom was not killed, T need not inform tlie 
ingenious reader, or this would otherwise have been the 
last chapter of the story ; but the poor fellow did not 
know whether he was dead or alive. 

In fact, he had not sense enough left to consider the 
question at all ; for there he lay, in the gloom of the trai- 
tor's dark cellar, silent and motionless — a solemn warn- 
ing to all our young readers of the folly and wickedness 
of indulging an illegal and sinful curiosity. It may seem 



46 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

cruel and inhuman in us to forsake poor Tom in this sad 
plight ; but we must, nevertheless, go up stairs, in order 
that the sufferer may be duly and properly relieved in 
due and proper season. 

When the committee of three, appointed by the indig- 
nant loyalists of Pinchbrook, had completed their mis- 
sion in the house of the squire, like sensible men they 
proposed to leave ; and they so expressed themselves, 
through their spokesman, to the unwilling host. They 
put their hats on, and moved into the front entry, whither 
they were followed by the discomfited traitor. They had 
scarcely left the room before a tremendous crash greeted 
the ears of that portion of the family which remained in 
the apartment. This was the precise moment at which 
poor Tom Somers found himself on the bottom of the 
cellar ; or, to be entirely accurate, when he lost himself 
on the bottom of the cellar. 

Mrs. Pemberton heard the crash, and she very natu- 
rally concluded that the hour of retribution had actually 
come ; that the terrible mob had commenced the work of 
destruction. To her "fear-amazed" mind it seemed as 
though the whole side of the house had fallen in, and, for 
a moment, she confidently expected the chimneys would 
presently go by the board, and the roof come thundering 
doT\Ti upon the devoted heads of her outraged family. 
Perhaps, at that terrible moment, she wished her hus- 
band had been like other women's husbands, a true and 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 47 

loyal man, cheering the old flag, and hurling harmless 
anathemas at the graceless rebels. 

But the chimney did not go by the board, nor the roof 
come thundering doAvn upon her head. There Avas not 
even a sound of destruction to be heard, and the sides of 
the house seemed to be lirni and decided in their inten- 
tion to maintain their perpendicular position. A few 
minutes later, when the committee announced to the mul- 
titude the success of their undertaking, and Fred had dis- 
played the flag from the -window, peal upon peal of stun- 
ning huzzas saluted her ears, and the awful peril of the 
preceding moments appeared to be averted. The squire, 
having closed and barricaded the broken door as well as 
he could, returned to the room, with curses deep and bit- 
ter upon his lips. He was not in the habit of swearing, 
but the magnitude of the occasion seemed to justify the 
innovation, and he swore hugely, roundly, awfully. He 
paced the room, ground his teeth, and stamped upon the 
floor. 

" Father, did you hear that terrible racket just now ? " 
asked Mrs. Pemberton. " I thought the side of the 
house had fallen in." 

"What racket?" demanded the squire, pausing in his 
excited walk. 

" I am sure they have broken something." 

*' It sounded as though it was down cellar," added Su- 
san, the daughter. 



43 THE SOLDIER BOT, OR 

" Wliat Tv^as it ? " asked the father. 

" I don't know. It sounded like breaking boards. 
Do go down cellar, and find out what it was." 

" The scoundrels ! " roared the squire, as he rushed up 
and doTNTi the room again with the fury of a madman, 
" I'll teach them to break into my house ! " 

" Be calm, father," interposed Mrs. Pemberton, who, 
like most New England mothers, caUed her husband by 
the title which belonged exclusively to the children. 

"Calm? How can I be calm? Don't you hear the 
ruffians shout and yell ? " 

" They are only cheering the flag." 

The squire muttered a malediction upon the flag, 
which would probably have procured for him a coat of 
tar and feathers, if the mob had heard it. Mrs. Pem- 
berton was silent, for she had never seen her husband so 
moved before. She permitted him to pace the room in 
his frenzy till his anger had, in some measure, subsided. 

" I wish you would go do^vn cellar and find out what 
that noise was," said Mrs. Pemberton, as soon as she 
dared to speak again. "Perhaps some of them are 
down there now. Who knows but they will set the 
house afire." 

Squire Pemberton was startled by this suggestion, and, 
seizing the lamp, he rushed down cellar to prevent so dire 
a calamity. 



TOM SOMERS JN THE ARMY. 49 



CHAPTER V. 



THE ATTIC CHA3IBER. 




QUIRE PE:MBERT0N rushed down cellar. 
He was very much excited, and forgot that 
he had been troubled with the rheumatism 
during the preceding winter. AYhen he opened the 
cellar door, he was considerably relieved to find that 
no brilliant light saluted his expectant gaze. It was 
as cold and dark in the cellar as it had been when 
he sorted over the last of his Warren Russets, a few 
davs before. v 

It was certain, therefore, that the house was not 
on fire ; and, invigorated by this thought, he descended 
the stairs. A strong current of fresh, cold air extin- 
guished the light he carried. As this was contrary to 
his usual experience when he went down cellar in the 
evening af\er an apple or a mug of cider, it assured 
him that there was a screw loose somewhere. Re- 
turning to the room above, he procured a lantern, 
and proceeded to the cellar again to renew his in- 
vestigations. 

5 



5Q THE SOLDIER BOY, OB 

The squire felt the cold blast of the April air, and 
immediately made his way to the cellar door, holding 
the lantern up as high as his head, to ascertain the 
nature of the mischief which the fanatical abolitionists 
had perpetrated. He saw that the cellar door was 
broken through. The rotten boards lay upon the 
steps, and with anoUier malediction upon the mob, he 
placed the lantern upon a barrel, and proceeded to re- 
pair the damage. As he stepped forward, he stum- 
bled against the body of the enterprising hero of this 
volume, who lay as calm and still as a sleeping child. 

The squire started -back, not a little alarmed at tlie 
sight of the motionless body. He felt as though a 
terrible retribution had fallen upon somebody, who 
had been killed in the act of attempting to destroy his 
property. Seizing his lantern, he retreated to the 
cellar stairs by which he had descended, and stood 
there* for a moment, his tongue paralyzed, and his 
knees smiting each other, in the agony of terror. 

We do not know what he was afraid of, but we 
suppose that instinctive dread which some people mani- 
fest in the presence of death, had completely overcome 
him. Certainly there was nothing to be afraid of, 
for a dead man is not half so likely to do a person 
an injury as a living one. But in a few minutes 
Squire Pemberton in some measure recovered his self- 
possession. 



TO.\r SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 



51 



'* There is a dead mau down here ! " he called up 
the staircase, in quaking tones. 

'• Mercy on us ! " exclaimed Mrs. Pemberton. *'Who 
is he?" 

" I don't know," replied the squire. 

" Look and see who it is, father," added Mrs. 
Pemberton. " Perhaps he isn't .dead." 

*' Stone dead," persisted the squire. " He fell into 
the cellar and broke his neck." 

*' Go and see who it is — will you?" 

" Well, you come down and hold the light," said 
the squire, who was not quite willing to say that he 
was scared out of his wits. 

Mrs. Pemberton descended the stairs, followed by 
Susan and Fred, who had just returned from the front 
window, where he had exhibited the flag, which the 
crowd outside were still cheering. 

''Who can it be?" continued the old lady, as she 
slowly and cautiously walked forward to the scene of 
the catastrophe. 

" I don't know," replied the squire, in whom the 
presence of his family had spurred up a semblance of 
courage ; for if a man ever is brave, it is in the pres- 
ence of his wife and children. "If it is one of the 
ruffians who came here to destroy my house, I am 
glad he has lost his life in the attempt. It is a 
righteous retribution upon him for his wickedness." 



52 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

Mrs. Pemberton took the lantern, and the squire, 
still excited and terrified, bent over the prostrate form 
of the young marauder. The victim lay upon his 
face, and the squire had to turn him over to obtain 
a view of his countenance. 

" I declare it is one of the Somers boys ! " exclaimed 
Mrs. Pemberton, as her husband brought the face of 
Thomas to her view. 

" The young villain ! " ejaculated the squire. '* It 
is lucky he was killed, or the house would have beeii 
in flames before this time. He is a desperate young 
scoundrel." 

*' But he isn't dead, father ! " said Mrs. Pemberton, 
as she knelt upon the cold ground, and felt tlio pidse 
of the insensible boy. " He is only stunned." 

" I am sorry for it. If it had killed him, it would 
have served him right," added the squire, who had sud- 
denly become as bold as a lion — as bold as two lions. 

'* Come, father, let's carry him up stairs, and put 
him to bed." 

" Do you think I am going to do any thing for this 
young scoundrel ! " exclaimed the squire, indignantly. 
" Why, he stoned Fred and me to-day, and stoned the 
horse, and made him run away and break the chaise 
all to pieces." 

" But we mustn't leave him here iu this situation. 
He may die." 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARATY. 53 

•" Let him die." 

"But what will folks say?" 

The more humane wife evidently understood the 
weak point of the squire, for nothing but slavery and 
the Southern Confederacy could have induced him to 
set at defiance the public sentiment of Pinchbrook. 

" Well, carry him up stairs then ; but he never will 
get out of my house till he has Ueen severely pun- 
ished for his crimes." 

The squire and Fred took hold of the senseless form 
of poor Tom, and carried it np stairs, where it was 
placed upon the sofa in the sitting room. Mrs. Pem- 
berton had the reputation of being " an excellent hand 
in sickness," and she immediately applied herself to 
the duty of restoring the sufferer to consciousness. 

" Don't you think you had better go after the doc- 
tor, father?" asked the good woman. "Some of his 
bones may be broken, or he may be injured inwardly." 

" I sliall not go for any doctor," snarled the squire. 
••• Do you think I will trust myself out doors Avhile 
that howlinir mob is hanfrin<j round the house ? " 

" Fred can go," suggested Susan. 

" He can, but he shall not," gi'owled the squire, 
throwing himself into his arm chair in the corner, with 
an appearance of indifference and unconcern, which were 
far from representing the actual state of his mind. 

Mrs. Pemberton said no more, but she and Susan 



54 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

went to work upon the sufferer with camphor and 
hartshorn in good earnest, and in a short time they 
had the satisfaction of seeing him open his eyes. They 
continued the treatment for some time longer, with 
the most satisfactory result, till Tom astonished them 
by jumping off the sofa, and standing up in the middle 
of the room. He rubbed his forehead, hunched up his 
left shoulder, and felt of his shins. 

"Are you hurt, Thomas?" asked Mrs. Pemberton, 
with more of tenderness in her tones than the squire 
deemed proper for the occasion. 

" No, marm, I guess not," replied Tom. '• My 
shoulder feels a little stiff, and I think I barked one 
of my shins ; but I shall be as good as new by to- 
morrow." 

But there was an ugly bump 6n the side of his head, 
which he had not yet discovered, but which Susan 
pointed out to him. He acknowledged the bump, but 
declared it was only a little sore, and would be all 
right by the next day. 

" I feel pretty well," continued Tom, " and I guess 
I'll go home now." 

" I think you won't, young man," interposed Squire 
Pemberton. 

Tom looked at him, and for the first time since he 
had come to himself, he remembered in what manner 
he had received his injuries. He immediately came 



TO.\f SOAfJUHS Ja\ THK ARMT. jj 

lo the couclusion that he had got iutu a bad scrape. 
He was in the house of, and in the presence of, his great 
enemy. The events of the day passed in rapid succes- 
sion through his mind, and he could not help thinking 
that he was destined to be the first victim in Pinch- 
brook to the war spirit which had just been awakened 
all over the country. 

The squire thought he would not go home, which 
was as much as to say he would not let him go home. 
Tom's wits were a little confused, after the hard 
knock he had received upon the head, and all he 
could do was to stand and look at the oracle of Pinch- 
brook, and wait for further developments. 

"■ Young man," said the squire, sternly, and in tones 
that were intended to make a deep impression upon the 
mind of the young man, " your time has come." 

The squire paused, and looked at the culprit to as- 
certain the effect of the startling announcement ; but 
Tom seemed to be perfectly cool, and was not anni- 
hilated by the suggestive remark of the great man of 
Pinchbrook. 

*' You have become a midnight marauder," added 
the squire, poetically. 

*' It isn't seven o'clock yet," said Tom, pointing to 
the great wooden clock in the corner of the room. 

" You joined a mob to pillage and destroy the prop- 
erty of a peaceable citizen. You broke in " 



56 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" No, sir ; the cellar door broke in," interposed the 
culprit. 

" You broke into my house to set it afire ! " con- 
tinued the squire, in a rage. 

" No, sir, I did not. I only went round there to see 
the fun," replied Tom, pointing to the rear of the house ; 
" and the cellar door broke down and let me in. I did not 
mean to do you or your house any harm ; and I didn't 
do any, except breaking the cellar door, and I ^vill have 
that mended." 

" Don't tell me, you young villain ! You meant to 
bum my house." 

" Xo, I didn't mean any thing of the kind," replied 
Tom, stoutly. '• I was going off when the door broke 
down. The boards were rotten, and I should think a 
man like you ought to have better cellar doors than 
those are." 

The squire didn't relish this criticism, especially from 
tlie source whence it came. There was a want of hu- 
mility on the part of the culprit which the magnate of 
Pinchbrook thought would be exceedingly becoming in a 
young man in his situation. The absence of it made 
him more angry than before. He stormed and hurled 
denunciations at the offender ; he rehearsed the mischief 
he had done during the day, and alluded in strong terms 
to that which he intended to perpetrate in the " dead 
watches of the night " — which was the poetical render- 



TOM SOAfEJiS IN THE ARMY. 57 

iiii; of luilt' past six in tho eveiiiug ; for the squire was 
loud of cHective phrases. 

Tom veutured to hiut that a man who woukl not stand 
hv his c'ouutry wheu her flag was iusuhed aud '* trailed 
ill the dust" — Tom had read the daily papers — ought 
to be brought to his senses by such expedients as his fel- 
low-citizens might suggest. Of course this remark only 
increased the squire's wrath, and he proceeded to pro- 
nounce sentence upon the unlucky youth, which was that 
he should be taken to the finished room in the attic, and 
confined there under bolts and bars till the inquisitor 
should further declare and execute his intentions. 

Mrs. Peraberton and Susan remonstrated against'this 
sentence, prudently suggesting the consequences which 
might residt from detaining the boy. But the squire de- 
clared he should not go till he had at least horsewhipped 
Jiim ; and if there was any justice left in the land, he 
would send him to the county jail in the morning. 

Tom wanted to resist the execution of his sentence, 
but he was still weak from the effects of his fall, and he 
could not expect to vanquish both the squire and his son ; 
so. with an earnest protest, he permitted himself to be 
led to the attic chamber. The squire thrust him into 
the room, and after carefully securing the door, left our 
hero to meditate upon the reverse of fortune' which had 
overtaken him. 



5« THE SOLDIER BOY, OH 



CHAPTER VI, 



THE WAY IS PREPARED. 



^^jf^\ HERE do you suppose Thomas is ? " said 
Mrs. Somers, as she glanced at the clock, 
which indicated half past nine. 

" I don't know," replied John. '• He can't be a great 
ways off. I saw him in front of the squire's house when 
the committee went in." 

" The boy's gone down to the Harbor again with the 
rest of the folks, talking about the war," added gran'ther 
Greene, as he rose from his chair, and hobbled into his 
chamber adjoining the kitchen. 

At ten o'clock, the mother began to be a little uneasy ; 
and at eleven, even John had some fears that all was not 
well with his brother. Neither of them was able to sue:- 
gest any thing that could possibly have happened to the 
absentee. There had been no battle fought, and so no- 
body could have been killed. There had been no violence 
used in the transactions of the evening: further than break- 
ing in the front door of Squire Pemberton, so that it was 
not easy to believe that any accident had happened to him. 



TOM SOMURS JS THK ARMY. 59 

John had given a glowing account of the proceedings 
nt the house of the squire, and the family had been much 
interested and excited by the stirring narrative. His 
mother was perfectly satisfied, as no one had been in- 
jured, and hoped the great man of Pinchbrook would be 
brought to his senses. All these topics had been fully 
discussed during the evening. John had informed his 
mother that Captain Benson, who had formerly com- 
manded the Pinchbrook Riflemen, intended to raise a 
company for the war. He mentioned the names of half 
a dozen young men who liad expressed their desire to 
join. The family had suggested that this and that man 
would go, and thus the long evening passed away. 

'' I don't see what has become of Thomas," said Mrs. 
Somers, when the clock struck eleven, as she rose from 
her chair and looked out of the window. 

" Well, I don't see, either," replied John. " I don't 
believe there is any thing going on at this time of night." 

*' I hope nothing has happened to him," continued the 
anxious mother, as she went to the door and looked out, 
hoping, perhaps, to discover him in the gloom of the 
night, or to hear his familiar step. 

'•What could have happened to him?" asked John, 
Avho did not believe his brother was fool enough to fall 
overboard, or permit any serious accident to happen to 
him. 

" I don't know. I can't see what has irot the bov. 



60 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

He always comes home before nine o'clock. Have you 
heard him say any thing that will give you an idea where 
he is?" 

'' He hasn't saiil any thing to me." 

" Try, and see if you can't think of something," per- 
sisted the anxious mother. 

" He hasn't talked of any thing but the war since yes- 
terday morning.'* 

"What did he say?" 

" I don't know, now," answered John, musing. " He 
said he should like to join the army, and go down and 
fight the rebels." 

Mrs. Somers had heard as much from him, but she 
had given no particular attention to his remarks on this 
subject, for they seemed wild and visionary. John's 
words, under the present circumstances, appeared to be 
full of importance ; and taking her stocking, she seated 
herself before the stove, and resumed her knitting. She 
was silent now, for her heart was heavy with the premo- 
nitions of impending trouble. 

" I will take a walk do\vn to the Harbor, mother, and 
see if I can find any thing of him. There may be some- 
thing going on there that I don't know about. He may 
be at the store, talking about the war with Captain Bar- 
ney and the rest of the folks." 

Mrs. Somers offered no objection to this plan, and 
John put on his cap, and left the house. The poor 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. gj 

mother brooded upon her trouble for another hour, 
ami with every new Tnoment, the trouble seemed more 
real. The clock struck twelve before John returned ; and 
more than once during his absence, as she plied her 
needles, she had wi})ed away a tear that hung among the 
furrows of her care-worn "cheek. She had been thinkin"- 

o 

of her husband, as well as of her son. He was, or soon 
would be, in the midst of the traitors, and she trembled 
for him. Uncle Wyman was a secessionist ; and, be- 
yond thi.s, she had not much confidence in his integrity, 
and if Captain Somers came home at all, his property 
woulil all be swept away, and he would be a beggar. 

The events of that day were not calculated to conciliate 
Squire Pemberton towards them, and the farm and the 
cottage would pass away from them. All these things 
had been considered and reconsidered by the devoted 
mollicr. Poverty and want seemed to stare her in the 
fa<'e ; and to add to all these troubles, Thomas did not 
come home, and, as fond mothers will, she anticipated 
the worst. 

John entered the kitchen, and carelessly flung his cap 
upon the table. Mrs. Somers looked at him, and waited 
patiently to hear any intelligence he might bring. But 
John threw himself into a chair, looking more gloomy 
than before he left the house. lie did not speak, and 
therefore he had no good news to tell. 

*• You didn't see any thing of him — did you?" asked 
6 



(32 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

Mrs. Somers ; but it was a useless question, for she had 
already interpreted the meaning of his dowTicast looks. 

" No, mother ; there isn't a man, woman, or child 
stirring in the village ; and I didn't see a light in a single 
house." 

" What do you suppose can have become of him? " 

" I'm sure I don't know. .Tom is old enough and 
smart enough to take care of himself." 

" It's very strange." 

" So it is. I haveil't any idea what has become of him." 

" Did you look around Squire Pemberton's house, 
where he was seen last ? " 

" I looked about on both sides of the road, going and 
coming from the Harbor. I whistled all the way, and 
if he had been any where round, he would have Avhistled 
back, as he always does." 

"What do you suppose has become of him?" de- 
manded the poor mother, worried beyond expression at 
the mysterious disappearance of her son. 

" I can't tell, mother." 

" Don't you think we had better call up the neighbors, 
and have something done about it ? " 

" I don't know," replied John, hardly less anxious 
than his mother. 

" I don't suppose they would be able to find him if we 
did," added Mrs. Somers, wiping away the tears from 
her face. 



TOM SOLVERS /\ THE AJiMY. g3 

*' I can't think any thing has happened to him, mother. 
If he had been on the water, or any tting of that kind, I 
should feel Avorsc about it." 

" If I ouly knew where he was, I shouldn't feel so 
bad about it," said she ; and her position, certainly, was a 
reasonable one. 

*" AVhat's the matter, sister? " called gi^an'ther Greene, 
from his chamber. '' Hasn't that boy got home yet? " 

" Xo, he hasn't come yet, and I am worried to death 
.'.bout him," replied Mrs. Somers, opening the door of 
Ikt brother's room. 

•^ What o'clock is it?" 

'" At^er twelve. Thomas never staid out so late in his 
life before. What do you suppose has become of him? " 

'' Law sake ! I haven't the leastest idea," answered the 
old man. *•' Thomas is a smart bov, and knows enougrh 
to keep out of trouble.'* 

** That's what I say," added John, avIio had unlim- 
ited confidence in his brother's ability to take care of 
liimself. 

*"• I'll tell you w^hat / think, John," said Mrs. Somers, 
throwing herself into her chair with an air of despera- 
tion. 

But she did not tell John what she thought : on the 
contrary, she sat rocking herself in silence, as though 
her thought was too big and too momentous for utter- 
ance. 



64 'PSE SOLD I Eli BOY, OH 

"Well, what do yoii think, mother?" asked John, 
when he had waited a reasonable time for her to express 
her opinion on the exciting topic. 

Mrs. Somers rocked herself more violently than be- 
fore, and made no reply. 

" What were you going to say ? " 

" I think the boy has gone off to Boston, and gone 
into the army," replied she, desperately, as though she 
had fully made up her mind to commit herself to, this 
belief. 

'' Do you think so, mother? " 

" I feel almost sure of it." 

" I don't think so, mother. Tom Avouldn't have gone 
off without saying something to me about it." 

" If he wouldn't say it to me, he wouldn't be likely to 
say it to you, John. It don't look a bit like Thomas to 
go off and leave his mother in this way," moaned the 
poor woman, wiping away a deluge of tears that now 
poured from her eyes. 

" I don't believe he has done any such thing, mother," 
protested John. 

" I feel almost certain about it, now. If the boy 
wanted to go, and couldn't stay at home, he ought to 
have told me so." 

" He did say he wanted to go." 

"•I didn't think he really meant it. I want my boys 
to love their country, and be ready to fight for it. Much 



TOM SOMJ^nS IX THE ARMY. 65 

as I should liate to part •with them, if they arc needed, 
they may go ; but I don't like to have tlicm run away 
and leave me in this mean way. I shouldu't feel half 
so bad if I knew Thomas was in the army now, as I do 
to think he ran away Irom home, just as though he had 
done some mean thing. I am willing he should go, and 
lie wouldn't be a son of mine if he wasn't ready to go 
and fight for his country, and die for her too, if there 
w<^ any need of it. I didn't think Thomas would serve 
me in this way." 

*' I don't believe he has." 

" I know he's gone, I like his spunk, but if he had 
only come to me and said he must go, I wouldn't have 
said a word ; but to go off without bidding us good by 
— it's too bad, and I didn't think Thomas Mould do such 
a thing." 

Mrs. Somers rose from her cliair, and paced tlie room 
in tlie highest state of agitation and excitement. Tlie 
rockers were not adequate to the duty required of them, 
and nothing less than the whole floor of the kitchen was 
sufficient for the proper venting of her emotion. 

" Do you mean to say, mother> that you would have 
given him leave to go, even if he had teased you for a 
month ? " asked John. 

*' Certainly I should," replied his mother, stopping 
short in the middle of the floor. " I'm readv and willing 
to have my boys fight for their country, but I don't 
6* 



g^J THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

want them to sneak off as though they had been rob- 
bing a hen-roost, and -vN^thout even saying good by 
to me." 

" If Tom were liere, do you mean to say you would 
let him go ? " demanded John, earnestly. 

'•' Certainly I do ; I mean so. But I don't think there 
is any need of boys like him going, when there are men 
enough to do the fighting." 

'■ You told Tom he shouldn't go." 

" Well, I didn't think he really meant it. If he had — 
What's that, John?" asked she, suddenly, as a noise at 
the window attracted her attention. 

'' Only the cat, mother." 

" If Thomas or you had asked me in earnest, and 
there was need of your going, I wouldn't have kept 
cither of you at home. I would go to the poorhouse 
first. My father and my brother both fought for their 
country, and my sons shall when their country Avants 
them." 

" Then you are Avilling Tom should go ? " 

" I am, but not to have him sneak off like a sheep- 
stealcr." 

" Three cheers for you, mother ! " shouted Thomas, 
as he threw iip the window at which he had been stand- 
ing for some ten minutes listening to this interesting 
conversation. 



TOM SOMJ-JJiS J\ THE ARMY. (jy 

'' Wlieio liave you been, Thomas?" exclaimed the 
delip:htcil mother. 

'• Open the door, Jack, and let me in, and I will tell 
you all about it," replied the absentee. 

'* Come in ; tlie door isn't locked," said John. 

He came in ; and what he had to tell will interest the 
reader as well as his mother and his brother. 



63 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER VII 



A SHDNIGHT ADVENTUHE. 



/'^^ O'M vSOMERS was an enterprising young man, 
■ I as our readers have already discovered ; and 
^J^ wlien the door of the finished room in the 
attic of Squire Pemberton's house Avas fastened upon 
him, he was not at all disposed to submit to the 
fate which appeared to be in store for him. The idea 
of becoming a victim to the squire's malice was not to 
be entertained, and he threw himself upon the bed to 
devise some means bv which he mii^-ht make his 
escape. 

The prospect was not encouraging, for there was only 
one window in the chamber, and the distance to the 
ground was sugirestive of broken limbs, if not of a 
broken neck. Tom had read the Life of Baron Trenck, 
and of Stephen Burroughs, but the experience of neither 
of these wortliies seemed to be available on the present 
occasion. 

As the family had not yet retired, it would not be 
safe to commence operations for some hours. The 



TOM SOMEJiS jy THE AJiMY. 09 

Stale, commonplace method of tyiug the sheets and 
blankets together, and thns forming a rope by which he 
could descend to the ground, occurred to him ; but he had 
not mueh confidence in the project, lie lay quietly on 
the bed till he heard the clocks on the churches at the 
Harbor strike twelve. It was time then, if ever, for the 
family to be asleep, and he decided to attempt an escape 
by another means which had been suggested to him. If 
it failed, he could then resort to the old-fashioned way 
of going down on the rope made of sheets and blankets. 
The apartment in which Tom was confined was not what 
people in the country call an " upright chamber." The 
sides of the room were about four feet in height ; and a 
section of the apartment would have formed one half of 
uu irregular octagon. In each side of the chamber 
there was a small door, opening into the space near 
the eaves of the house, which was used to store old 
trunks, old boxes, the disused spinning-wheel, and other 
lumber of this description. Tom had been in the attic 
before, and he remembered these doors, through one of 
which he now proposed to make his escape. 

When the clock struck twelve, he cautiously rose from 
tlie bed, and pulled off his boots, which a proper respect 
for his host or the bed had not prompted him to do 
before. The house was old, and the floors had a ten- 
dency to creak beneath his tread. With the utmost 
care, he crawled on his hands and knees to one of 



70 THE SOLDI Ell BOY, O It 

the doors of the lumber hole, •which he succeeded in 
opening -without much noise. 

Making his -way in among tlic old boxes, trunks, 
and spinning-wheels, he "was fully embarked in his diffi- 
cult venture. Tlie dust which he stirred up in his 
progress produced an almost irresistible desire to 
sneeze, which Lord Dundreary might have been happy 
to indulge, but which might have been fatal to the exe- 
cution of Tom Somers's purpose. He rubbed his nose, 
and held his handkerchief over the intractable member, 
and succeeded in overcoming its dangerous tendency. 
His movements were necessarily very slow, for he was 
in constant dread lest some antiquated relic of the past 
should tumble over, and thus disturb the slumbers of 
the family who occupied the chambers below. 

But in spite of the perils and difficulties that en- 
vironed his path, there was something exciting and 
exliilarating in the undertaking. It was a real adven- 
ture, and, as such, Tom enjoyed it. As he worked 
his way through the labyrinth of antiquities, he could 
not but picture to himself the surprise and chagrin of 
Squire Pemberton, when he should come up to the attic 
chamber to ^\Teak his vengeance upon him. He could 
see the magnate of Pinchbrook start, compress his lips 
and clinch his fists, when he found the bird had flown. 

" Better not crow till I get out of the woods," said he 
to himself, while his imagination was still busy upon the 
agreeable picture. 



T O Jf !> U ME It S I A IH E A H M Y. J]^ 

Alter a series of trials and dilliculties which our 
space does not permit us to describe in full, Tom' 
emerged from the repository of antiquities, and stood in 
the open space in front of tlie linished chamber. AVith 
one boot in each hand, he feU liis way to the stairs, and 
descemlod to the entry over the front door. All ob- 
stacles now seemed to be overcome, for he had nothing 
to do but go down stairs and Avalk out. 

It often happens, amid the uncertainties of this unsta- 
bk^ world, that we encounter the greatest trials and dilli- 
ciUties precisely Avhere we expect to find none. As Tom 
walked along the entry, with one hand on the rail that 
protected the staircase to guide him, he struck his foot 
against the pole upon whicli Fred Pemberton had sus- 
pended the flag out of the window. It was very care- 
less of the squire, when he took the flag in, to leave the 
stick in that unsafe position, for one of his own family 
might have stumbled against it, and broken a leg or an 
arm, or possibly a neck ; and if it might have been a 
'• cause of offence " to one of the Pembertons, it cer- 
tainly laid a grievous burden upon the shoulders of poor 
Tom Somers. 

When the pole fell, it made a tremendous racket, ns 
all poles will Avhen they fall just at the moment when 
they ought to stand up, and be decent and orderly. This 
catastrophe had the effect to quicken the steps of the 
young man. He reached the stairs, and had comjoienced 



72 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

a rapid descent, when the door of the squire*s room, 
"vvliich was ou the lower floor, opened, and Tom found 
himself flanked in that direction. 

" Who's there ? What's that ? " demanded the squire, 
in hurried, nervous tones. 

Tom was so impolite as to make no reply to these 
pressing interrogatories, but quickly retreated in the 
dii'ection from which he had come. 

'' Wife, light the lamp, quick," said the squire, in the 
hall belou'. 

Just then a door opened on the other side of the entry 
where Tom stood, and he caught a faint glimpse of a 
figure robed in Avhite. " Though it was the solemn hour 
of midnight, and Tom, I am. sorry to say, had read the 
Three Spaniards, and Mysteries of Udolpho, he rejected 
the suggestion that the " sheeted form " might be a 
ghost. 

"" "\^^lo's there ? " called the squire again. 

A romantic little scream from the figure in white 
assured Tom that Miss Susan Avas the enemy immedi- 
jitely on his front. Then he caught the glimmer of the 
light beloM', which Mrs. Pemberton had procured, and 
the race seemed to be up. Concealment was no longer 
« practicable, and he seized upon the happy suggestion that 
the window opening upon the portico over the front door 
w^as available as a means of egress. 

Springing to the window, he raised it with a prompt 



703/ iiOM±:JiS JX THE ARMY. 73 

and vigorous haud, and before tlie squire could ascend the 
stairs, he was upon the root' of the portico. Throwini,^ 
his boots down, he grasped tlit gutter, and " hung off." 
He was now on ttrra Jirnia^ and all his trials appeared 
to have reached a happy termination ; but here again 
he was doomed to^ disappointment. 

"• Bow, wow, wow-er, woo, row ! " barked and growled 
the squire's big bull dog, when he came to realize that 
some unusual ocem*rences were transpiring. 

The animal was a savage brute, and w^s kept chained 
in the barn during the day, and turned loose when the 
squire made his last visit to the cattle about nine in the 
evening. Tom was thoroughly alarmed when this new 
enemy confronted him ; but fortimately he had the self- 
possession to stand liis ground, and not attempt to run 
away, otherwise the dog would probably have torn him 
in pieces. 

'' Come here, Tige ! Poor fellow ! Come here ! He's 
a good fellow I Don't you know me, Tige ? " said Tom, 
whose only hope seemed to be in conciliation and com- 
promise. 

If Tige knew him, he appeared to be very unwilling 
to acknowledge the acquaintance under the present sus- 
picious circumstances, and at this unseemly hour. The 
brute barked, snarled, howled, and growled, and mani- 
fested as strong an indisposition to compromise as a 
South Carolina fire-eater. He placed himself in front of 
7 



74 Jm^ SOLDIER BOY, OH 

the hero of the night's adventure, as resohite and as in- 
tractable as though he had knoA\Ti all the facts in the 
ease, and intended to cany out to the letter the wishes 
of his master. 

Tom slowly retreated towards the garden fence, the 
dog still following him up. He had tried coaxing and 
conciliation, and they had failed. As he cautiously 
backed from the house, his feet struck against a heavy 
cart stake, which seemed to suggest his next resort. He 
was well aware that any quick movement on his part 
would cause the dog to spring upon him. Placing his 
toe under the stake, he raised it with liis foot, till he could 
reach it with his hand, keeping his gaze fixed upon the 
eyes of the dog, whicli glared like fiery orbs in the 
gloom of the hour. 

Tige saw the stick, and he appeared to have a whole- 
some respect for it — a sentiment inspired by sundry 
beatings, intended to cure a love of mutton on the hoof, 
or beef on the shelf. The brute retreated a few paces ; 
but at this moment Squu^e Pemberton appeared at the 
front door, with a lantern in his hand. He understood 
the " situation " at a glance. 

" Take him, Tige ! Stu' boy ! " shouted the squire. 

The dog snarled an encouraging reply to this sugges- 
tion, and moved up towards the fugitive. Tom's courage 
was equal to the occasion, and he leveEed a blow at the 
head of the bull dog, which, if it had hit him fairly, must 




Tom's Battle at Midnight. Page 75. 



TOM i>o.\rf-:iiS IS the army. 



40 



have smashed in his skull. As it was, the blow was a 
heavy one, and Tige retreated ; but the shouts of the 
squire rallied liiui, and he rushed forward to the on- 
sUiught again. 

Tom, as we have before liad occasion to suggest, was 
a master of strategy, and instead of another stroke at the 
head of his savage foe, with only one chance in ten of 
hitting the mark, he commenced swinging it vigorously 
to the right and left, as a mower does his scythe. His 
object was to hit the legs of the dog — a plan which was 
not entirely original with him, for he had seen it adopted 
with signal success by a fisherman at the Harbor. The 
consequence of this change of tactics was soon apparent, 
for Tige got a rap on the fore leg, which caused him to 
yelp with pain, and retire from the field. "While the 
dog moved off in good order in one direction, Tom 
effected an equally admirable retreat in the other direc- 
tion. 

On reaching the road, he pulled on his boots, which 
he had picked up after the discomfiture of his canine 
antagonist. Squire Pemberton still stood at the door 
trying to bring Tige to a sense of his duty in the trying 
emergency ; but the brute had more regard for his ovm 
shins than he had for the mandate of his master, and the 
victor was permitted to bear away his laurels without 
further opposition. 

AVhen he reached his father's house, supposing the 



76 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

front door was locked, he went to the kitchen win- 
dow, where he had heard the patriotic remarks of his 
mother. Tom told his story in substance as we have 
related it. 

" Do you mean what you have said, mother ? " in- 
quired he, when he had finished his narrative. 

Mrs. Somers bit her lip in silence for a moment. 

" Certainly I do, Thomas," said she, desperately. 

It was half past one when the boys retired, but it 
was another hour before Tom's excited brain would 
permit him to sleep. His head was full of a big 
thought. 



TO^f SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 77 



CHAPTER VIII. 

SIGNING Till-: TArEUS. 

/ ^(^'IIQMAS went to sleep at last, and, worn out 
il by ^h® fatigue and excitement of the day, lie 
VlJ/ slept long and soundly. His mother did not 
call liini till eight o'clock, and it was nine before he 
reached the store of his employer, Avhere the recital of 
the adventure of the preceding night proved to be a 
sufficient excuse for his non-appearance at the usual 
hour. 

In the course of the week Captain Benson had pro- 
cured the necessary authority to raise a company for 
three years or for the war. When he exhibited his pa- 
pers, he found twenty persons ready to put down their 
names. A recruiting office was opened at the store, and 
every day added to tlie fist of brave and self-denying 
men who were rcadv to \io forward and fight the battles 
of liberty and union. The excitement in Pinchbrook 
was fanned by the news which each day brought of the 
zeal and madness of the traitors. 

Thomas had made up his mind, even before his mother 



73 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

had been surprised into giving her consent, that he should 
go to the war. At the first opportunity, therefore, he 
wrote his name upon the paper, very much to the aston- 
ishment of Captain Benson and his employer. 

"How old are you, Tom?" asked the captain. 

" I'm in my seventeenth year," replied the soldier 
boy. 

" You are not old enough." 

" I'm three months older than Sam Thompson ; 
and you didn't even ask him how old he was." 

"He is larger and heavier than you are?" 

" I can't help that. I'm older than he is, and I 
think I can do as much in the way of fighting as he 
can." 

" I don't doubt that," added the captain, laughing. 
" Your affair with Squire Pemberton shows that you 
have pluck enough for any thing. I should be very 
glad to have you go ; but Avhat does your father say ? " 

" He hasn't said any thing. He isn't at home. 
He went away before Sumter was fired upon by the 
rebels." 

" True — I remember. "What does your mother 
say?" 

" O, she is willing." 

"Are you sure, Tom?" 

" Of course. I am. Suppose you write something by 
which she can give her consent, and she will sign it." 



TOM SOMEJiS JX THE ARMY. 79 

Captain Benson drew up the document, and -when 
Tom went home to dinner, he presented it to his 
mother for her signature. 

*" 1 hope you won't back out, mother," said he, as 
-he put on her spectacles, and proceeded to ascertain 
the contents of the document. 

"Back out of what, Thomas?" 

" I've signed the muster roll, and I belong to Cap- 
tain Benson's company now." 

"• You ! " exclaimed Mrs. Somers, lowering the pa- 
})t'r, and gazing earnestly into the face of the young 
man, to discover whether he was in earnest. 

'' Yes, mother ; you said you were willing, and I 
have signed the papers ; but Captain Benson Avants 
your consent in writing, so that there shall be no mis- 
take about it." 

The mother read the paper in silence and sadness, 
for the thought of having her noble boy exposed to the 
perils of the camp and the marcli, the skirmish and the 
battle, was terrible, and nothing but the most exalted 
patriotism could induce a mother to give a son to his 
country. 

" I don't want to sign this paper, Thomas," said she, 
when she had finished reading it. 

" Have you forgot what you said the other night, 
mother?" 

*• No, I haven't forgot it, and I feel now just as 1 



80 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

did then. If there is any real need of your going, I 
am willing you should go." 

"Need? Of course there is need of soldiers. The 
President wasn't joking when he called for seventy-live 
thousand men." 

'' But there are enough to go without you." 

" That's just what every body might say, and then 
there wouldn't be any body to go." 

" But you are young, and not very strong." 

" I'm old enough, and strong enough. When I can 
get a day to myself, I don't think it's any great 
hardship to carry father's heavy fowling-^ece from 
sunrise to sunset ; and I guess I can stand it to carry 
a musket as long as any of them." 

" You are only a boy." 

" I shall be a man soon enough." 

" When you have gone, John will want to go too." 

" No, mother, I don't want to go into the army," 
said John, with a sly wink at his brother. " I shall 
nQver be a soldier if I can help it." 

" What am I going to -do, if you all go off and leave 
me?" added Mrs. So'mers, trying hard to keep down 
a tear which was struggling for birth in her fountain of 
sorrows. 

" I don't think you will want for any thing-, mother. 
I'm sure I wouldn't leave you, if I thought you 
would. I don't get but tAvo dollars and a half a 



TOM SOMEliS IS THE AJiAfY 



81 



week iu the store, and I shall have eleven dollars a 
month in the army, and it won't cost me any thino- for 
board or clothes. 1 will send every dollar I <'et home 
to yon." 

*' Von are a good boy, Thomas," replied Mrs. 
Somers, unable auy longer to restrain the tear. *• I 
know you and John both will do every thing von 
can lor me. 11' your father was only at home, I slionid 
leel ditierent about it." 

'• lie would believe in my lighting lor my country, 
if he were here." 

'' 1 know he would," said Mrs. Somers, as she took 
the pen which Thomas handed her, and seated her- 
self at the table. " If you are determined to go, I 
suppose you will go, whether I am willing or not." 

" No, mother, I will not," added Thomas, de- 
cidedly. '• I shouldn't have signed the muster roll if 
you hadn't said you ^vtre willing. And if you Ssay 
now that you won't consent, I will take my name oft' 
the paper." 

"But you want to go — don't yon?" 
" I do ; there's no mistake about that : but I won't 
go if you are not willinf>-." 

Mrs. Somers wrote her name upon the paper. It 
was a slow and difficult operation to her, and during 
the time she was thus occupied, the rest of the family 
watched her in silent anxiety. Perhaps, if she liad 



82 '^n^ SOLDIER HOY, on 

not committed herself on the eventful night when she 
fully believed that Thomas had run away and joined 
the army, she might have offered more and stronger 
objections than she now urged. But there was a vein 
of patriotism in her nature, which she had inherited 
irom her father, who had fought at Bunker Hill, 
Brandywine, and Germantown, and which had been 
exemplified in the life of her brother ; and this, more 
than any other consideration, induced her to sign the 
paper. 

Thousands of loving and devoted mothers have given 
their sons to their country in the same holy enthusi- 
asm that inspired her. She was not_a solitary instance 
of this noble sacrifice, and if both her sons had been 
men, instead of boys, she would not have interposed 
a single objection to their departure upon a mission 
so glorious as that to which Thomas had now devoted 
himself. 

" There's my name, Thomas," said his mother, as 
she took off her spectacles. '" I've done it, and you 
liave my free consent. You've always been a good 
boy, and I liope you will always be a good soldier." 

" I shall always try to do my duty, mother ; ar.d 
if ever I turn my back to a rebel, I hope you'll dis- 
own me." 

" Good, Tom ! " exclaimed John, who had been 
deeply interested in the event of the hour. 



Tt)\r sn\rKns' /.v rif: Air\ry. ^3 

'' "Well, Thoinas, I'd rather face two rebels than that 
bull clog you fit with t'other uight," added gran'ther 
Greene. " You are as bold as a lion, Thomas." 

''Do you think I fan stand it, gran'ther?" added 
Tom, with a smile. 

"Stand it? Well, Thomas, it's a hard life to be 
a soldier, and I know something about it. When we 
marched from " 

" Dinner's ready," interposed Mrs. Somers, for 
gi'an'ther Greene had marched that march so many 
times that every member of the family knew it by 
heart. 

" There's one good thing about it, Tom," said John : 
" you have got a first-rate captain." 

" I'm thankful you are going with Captain Benson, 
for if there ever was a Christian in Pinchbrook, he is 
the man," added Mrs. Somers. 

" And all the company will be your own friends 
and neighbors," said gran'ther Greene ; " and that's 
something, I can tell you, I know something about 
this business. When we marched from " 

"Have some more beans, brother?" asked Mrs. 
Somers. "You will be among your friends, Thomas, 
as gran'ther says." 

"That's a great thing, I can tell you," added the 
veteran. " Soldiers should stick together like brothers, 
and feel that they are fighting for each other, as well 



34 THE SOLDIER BOY, Oil 

as for the country. Then, wlien you're sick, you want 
friends. Wiien we marched from Sackett's Harbor, 
^ there was a young feller " 

"Have some more tea, brother?" 

'" Part of a cup, Nancy," replied the old man, who 
never took offence even when the choicest stories of 
his military experience were nipped in the bud. 

After dinner, Thomas hastened back to the store. 
That day seemed to him like an epoch in his existence, 
as indeed it was. He felt that he belonged to his 
country now, and that the honor of that old flag, which 
had been insulted by traitors, was committed to his 
keeping. He was taking up the work where his grand- 
father had left it. He was jroina; fortli to fiirht for 
his country, and the thought insj^ired him with a noble 
and generous enthusiasm, before which all the aspira- 
tions of his youth vanished. 

As he jDassed the house of Squire Pemberton, he 
bestowed a pitying reflection upon the old traitor ; but 
his mind was so full of the great event which was 
dawning upon him, that he did not even think of the 
exciting incidents which had occurred there. He had 
neither seen nor heard any thing of the squh'e since 
he had escaped from the attic chamber. 

Just beyond the squire's house he met Captain 
Barney, who was riding up to the town hall. 

" AVhat's this I hear of vou, Tom?" demanded the 



TOM SOMEIiS I\ THE AliMY. 35 

captain, a?* he reined in his horse. " They say you have 
joined tlie company." 

*' Yes, sir. 1 liave." 

" Bravo ! my boy. Good on your head ! You 
ought to go out as a brigadier general. What does 
your mother say ? " 

" I have her vv-ritten consent in my pocket." 

" All right. God bless you, my boy ! " said the 
old salt, as he started his horse. 

'' Thank you, sir. There's only one thing that 
troubles me." ^ 

''Eh? AVhat's that, my boy?" demanded Captain 
Barney, as he reined up the horse again. 

'' I suppose you have heard of my scrape at Squire 
Pemberton's the other night." 

" Yes ; and shiver my timbers if I didn't "vvant to 
keelhaul the old traitor when I heard of it." 

" I don't care any thing about the scrape, sir ; only 
I'm afraid the squire will bother my mother when I'm 
gone," said Thomas, with some diffidence. 

" If he does, he'll settle the matter with Jack Bar- 
ney," replied tlie captain, decidedly. 

" My father may never come back, you know, and 
if he does he will be a beggar. lie owes the squire 
a note, wliicli will be due in June." 

'' I'll pay it myself! " roared Captain Barney. "Go 
and fight for your country, Tom, like a man. I'll 
8 



3g- THE SOLDIER BOY, Oil 

call and see your mother once a week, or every day 
in the week, if you say so. She shall not want for 
any thing as long as I have a shot in the locker." 

" Thank you. Captain Barney ; thank you, sir." 

" I'll take care of your mother, my lad, and I'll 
take care of the squire. He shall not foreclose that 
mortgage, Tom. Don't bother your head about any 
of those things. You're a good boy, Tom, and I'll 
keep every thing all right at home." 

" Thank you, sir," repeated the soldier boy, as Cap- 
tain Barney started his horse again. 

The, captain was a retired shipmaster, of ample 
means, and Tom knew that he was not only able, but 
willing, to do aU he had promised. His heart was 
lifjhter ; a load had been removed from his mind. 



TOM SO ME lis IX THE A i: M 1' . S^ 



CHAPTER IX. 



THE DEPARTUl^E. 



C^^ T the time of which we write, recruiting officers 
h\ were not very particular in regard to the age 
(^^\' of those whom they received into the volunteer 
army. If the young man seemed to have the requisite 
physical qualifications, it was of little consequence what 
his aire was; and Tom Somers was tall enough and 
stout enough to make a very good soldier. 

Captain Benson examined the certificate brought to 
him by the young recruit, not, however, because it was 
deemed a necessary legal form, but because he was 
acquainted with his father and mother, and would not 
willingly have done any thing to displease them. Th- 
matter, therefore, was disposed of to the satisfaction of 
ail the parties concerned, and Tom actually commenced 
his career as a soldier boy. lie immediately resigned 
his situation in the store, for the company now num- 
bered forty men, not half a dozen of whom had any 
knowledge whatever of military drill. 

As the volunteers of the Pinclibrook company could 



38 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

ill afford to lose the time devoted to drill before they 
should be mustered into the service of the United States, 
the town voted to pay each man fifteen dollars a month 
for three months. This generous and patriotic action of 
the town rejoiced the heart of Tom Somers, for his 
mother actually needed the pittance he had earned at the 
store. Mrs. Somers had heard nothing from her hus- 
band ; but the destruction of the Gosport Navy Yard, 
and the seizure of several northern vessels in the har- 
bor of Norfolk, left her little to hope for in that direc- 
tion. Suddenly an impregnable wall seemed to rise up 
between the North and the South, and she not only 
feared that Captain Somers had lost all his worldly pos- 
sessions, but that he would hardly be able to escape him- 
self from the fiery furnace of secession and treason. 

To her, therefore, the future looked dark and forbid- 
dino-. She foresaw tliat she and her family would be 
subjected to the pressure of want, or at least be depend- 
ent upon the kindness of friends for support. She had 
freely stated her fears to her children, and fully exhibited 
the insufficiency of the family resources. Tlie vote of 
the tOAvn was a perfect godsend to Tom, and a fat legacy 
from a rich relative would not have kindled a stronger 
feeling of gratitude in his soul. 

For the next five weeks, Tom was employed forenoon, 
afternoon, and evening, in the drill, and he soon made 
himself proficient. The company was recruited nearly 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. ^9 

up to it3 maximum number, and was then attacl^ed to 
tiie — th regiment, which had just been formed and 
ordered to Fort Warren. 

On the 27th day of May, the company, escorted 
by the patriotic citizens of Piuchbrook, marched to Bos- 
ton, and Tom took a sorrowful farewell of his moth- 
er, his brother and sisters, and a score of anxious 
friends. 

*' Now don't let the rebels hit you in the backbone, 
Thomas," said gran'ther Greene, as he shook the hand 
of the soldier boy. 

" No, gran'ther ; if I can't fight, I won't run away," 
replied Tom. 

" You've got good blood in your veins, my boy : don't 
disgrace it. I don't know as you'll ever see me again, 
but God bless you, Thomas ; " and the old man turned 
away to hide the tears which began to course down his 
wrinkled cheek. 

" Be a good boy, Thomas," added his mother. 

'* I will, mother." 

'-'- And remember what I've been telling you. I'm not 
half so much afraid of your being killed by a bullet, as 
I am of your being ruined by bad men." 

" You needn't fear any thing of that kind, mother." 

'* I shall pray that you may be saved from your 
friends as well as from your enemies. We shall see 
you again before you go off, I hope." 
8* 



DO THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" Yes, mother ; we shall not be sent south yet." 

" Don't forget to read youi- Testament, Thomas," said 
Mrs. Somers. 

" I -won't, mother," replied the soldier boy, as he again 
shook hands with all the members of the family, kissed 
his mother and his sisters, and hitching up his knapsack, 
took his place in the ranks. 

His heart seemed to be clear up in his throat. During 
the tender scene he had just passed through, he had man- 
fully resisted his inclination to Aveep, but he could no 
longer restrain the tears. Suddenly they came like a 
flood bursting the gates that confined it, and he choked 
and sobbed like a little girl. He leaned upon his mus- 
ket, covering his face with his arm. 

" It's a hard case," said private Hapgood, who stood 
next to him in the ranks. 

"I didn't think it would take me down like this," 
sobbed Tom. 

" Don't blubber, Tom. Let's go off game," added 
Ben Lethbridge, who stood on the other side of him. 

" I can't help it, Ben." 

" Yes, you can — dry up ! Soldiers don't cry, Tom." 

" Yes, they do, my boy," said Hapgood, who was a 
little old man, nearly ten years beyond the period of 
exemption from military duty. " I don't blame Tom for 
crying, and, in my opinion, he'll fight all the better 
for it." 



TOM SOMLBS IX THE ARMY. 



•Jl 



" Perhaps he will, old uu ; but 1 don't think much of a 
soldier that blubbers like a baby. I hope he won't run 
away when he sees the rebels coming," sneered Ben. 

'' If he does, he'll have a chance to see how thick tlic 
heels of your boots are," answered the old man. 

''What do you mean by that, old un?" demanded 
Ben. 

** Attention — company ! Shoulder — arms ! Forward 
— march ! " said the captain ; and the discussion was 
prevented from proceeding any fm-ther. 

The band, which was at the head of the citizens' col- 
umn, struck up an inspiring march, and Toin dried his 
tear^ The escort moved oiF, followed by the company. 
They passed the little cottage of Captain Somers, and 
Tom saw the whole family except John, who was in the 
escort, standing at the front gate. The old soldier swung 
his hat, Tom's sisters and his mother waved their hand- 
kerchiefs ; but when they saw the soldier boy, they had to 
use them for another purpose. Tom felt another upward 
pressure in the region of the throat ; but this time he 
choked down his rising emotions, and saved himself 
from the ridicule of his more callous companion on the 
left. 

In violation of military discipline, he turned his head 
to take one last, fond look at the home he w^as leaving 
behind. It miglit be the last time he should ever gaze 
oil tliat 1()\ (d spot, now a thousand times more dear tlian 



92 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

ever before. Never had he realized the meaning of 
home ; never before had he felt how closely his heart's 
tendrils were intwined about that hallowed place. Again, 
in spite of his firmness and fortitude, and in spite of the 
sneers of Ben Lethbridge, he felt tlie hot tears sliding 
down his cheek. 

TThen he reached the brow of the hill which would 
soon hide the little cottage from his view, perhaps for- 
ever, he gazed behind him again, to take his last look at 
the familiar spot. His mother and his sister still stood 
at the front gate watching the receding column in which 
the son and the brother was marching away to peril and 
perhaps death. 

" God bless my mother ! God bless them all ! " were 
the involuntary ejaculations of the soldier boy, as he 
turned away from the hallowed scene. 

But the memory of that blessed place, sanctified by the 
presence of those loving and devoted ones, was shrined in 
the temple of his heart, ever to go with him in camp and 
march, in the perils of battle and siege,- to keep him true 
to his God, true to himself, and true to those whom he 
had left behind him. That last look at home and those 
that make it home, like the last fond gaze we bestow on 
the loved and the lost, was treasured up in the garner of 
the heart's choicest memories, to be recalled in the sol- 
emn stillness of the midnight vigil, amid the horrors 
of the battle-field when the angry strife of arms had 



TOM so.\ij:ns jy the ahmy. yg 

ceased, and in the gloom of the soldier's sick bed when 
no mother's hand was near to lave the fevered brow. 

The moment when he obtained his last view of the 
liome of his childhood seemed like the most eventfid 
jieriod of his existence. His heart grew big in his 
bo>oni, and yet not big enough to contain all he felt. 
He wept again, and his tears seemed to come from 
deeper down than his (iy*i&. He did not hear the inspir- 
ing strains of the band, or the cheers that greeted the 
company as they went forth to do and die for their coun- 
try's imperilled cause. 

••Blubbering again, Tom?" sneered Ben Lethbridge. 
'• I thought you was more of a man than that, Tom 
Somers." 

*' I can't help it, Ben," replied Tom, vainly struggling 
to subdue his emotions. 

••• Better go back, then. "We don't want a great baby 
in the ranks." 

'' It's nateral, Ben," said old Hapgood. " He'll get 
over it when he sees the rebels." 

" Don't believe he will. I didn't think you were 
such a great calf, Tom." 

'' Sliet up, now, Ben," interposed Hapgood. " I'll bet 
my life he'll stand fire as well as you will. I've been 
about in the world some, and I reckon I've as good an 
idee of tliis business as you have. Tom's got a heart 
under his ribs." 



94 THE SOLDIER HOY, OR 

• " I'll bet he rims away at tiie tir.-<i lire." 

" I'll bet he won't." 

'^ I know I won't ! " exclaimed Tom, witli energy, as 
he drew his coat sleeve across his eyes. 

" It isn't the cock that crows the loudest that will fi-^ht 
the best," added the old man. " I'll bet Tom will be 
able to tell you tlic latest news from the front, where the 
battle's the hottest. I lit my way up to the city of Mex- 
ico long er old Scott, and I've heard boys crow afore 
to-day." 

" Look here, old un ! If you mean to call me a cow- 
ard, why don't you say so, right up and down ? " growled 
Ben. 

" Time' 11 tell, my boy. You don't know what gun- 
powder smells like yet. If you'd been with the fust 
Pennsylvany, where I was, you'd a-kno"svn sunthin about 
war. Xow, shet up, Ben ; and don't you worry Tom 
any more." 

But Tom was no longer in a condition to be worried. 
Though still sad at the thought of the home and friends 
he had left behind, he had reduced his emotions to proper 
subjection, and before the column reached Boston, he had 
even regained his wonted cheerfulness. The procession 
halted upon the wharf, where the company was to em- 
bark on a steamer for Fort Warren. As the boat which 
was to convey them to the fort had not yet arrived, the 
men were permitted to mingle with their friends on tlic 



TOM 6 0M/.JiS J\ THE ARMY. y5 

wharf, ami, of Course, Tom immediately sought out his 
brother. He found him engaged in a spirited conversa- 
tion with Captain Benson. 

'• What is it. Jack?" asked the soldier boy. 

'•I waii't to join tliis company, and the captain won't 
let me," replied John. 

- You, Jack ! " 

'^ Yes, I." 

** Did mother say so? " 

•• Xo, but she won't care." 

'•Did you ask her?" 

'• Xo ; I didn't think of going till after I started from 
home." 

'- Don't think of it, Jack. It would be au awiul 
blow to mother to have both of us 2:0." 

For half an hour Tom argued the matter with John ; 
but the military enthusiasm of the latter had been so 
aroused by the march and its attendant circumstances, 
that he could not restrain his inclination. 

••If I don't join this company, I shall some other," 
said John. 

" I shall have to go home again, if you do ; for I won't 
have mother left alone. We haven't been mustered in 
yet. Besides, I thought you wanted to go into the 
na\-y." 

" I do ; but I'm bound to go somehow," replied John. 

But what neither Tom nor Captain Benson could do. 



y(3 THE SOLDI Eli BOY, OH 

was accomplished by Capfain Barney, who declared John 
should go home with him if he had to take him by the 
collar. The ardent young patriot yielded as gracefully 
as he could to this persuasion. 

The steamer having arrived, the soldiers shook lianils 
with their friends again, went on board, and, amid the 
hearty cheers of the citizens of Pinchbrook, were borne 
down the bay. 



TO AT SOATSRS IX THE ARMY. 97 



CHAPTER X 



COMPANY K. 



/^fc^OM SOMERS felt that he was now a soldier 
g'l indeed. While the company remained in 
\ZAy Pinehbrook, he had slept every night in his 
ouTi bed, and taken his meals in the kitchen of the 
little cottage. He fully realized tliat he had bade a 
long farewell to all the comforts and luxuries of home. 
That day, for the first time, he was to partake of 
soldiers' fare, and that night, for the first time, he was 
to sleep upon a soldier's bed. These thoughts did not 
make him repine, for before he signed the muster roll, 
he had carefully considered, with the best information 
he could obtain, what hardships and privations he would 
be called to endure. He had made up his mind to 
bear all things without a murmur for the blessed land 
of his birth, which now called upon her sons to de- 
fend her from the pamcidal blow of the traitor. 

Tom had not only made up his mind to bear all 
these things, but to bear them patiently and cheerfully. 
He had a little theory of his own, that rather more 
9 



93 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

than half of the discomforts of this mortal life exist only 
in the imagination. If he only thought that every thing 
was all right, it went a gi'eat way towards making it 
all right-:— a very comforting and satisfactory philoso- 
phy, which reduced the thermometer from ninety down 
to seventy degrees on a hot day in summer, and raised 
it from ten to forty degrees on a cold day in winter ; 
which filled his stomach when it was empty, alleviated 
the toothache or the headache, and changed snarling 
babies into new-fledged angels. I commend Tom's 
philosophy to the attention and imitation of all my 
young friends, assured that nothing will keep them so 
happy and comfortable as a cheerful and contented 
disposition. 

" Tom Somers," said a voice near liim, cutting short 
the consoling meditation in which he was engaged. 

Ilis name was - pronounced in a low and cautious 
tone, but the voice sounded familiar to him, and he 
turned to ascertain who had addressed him. He did 
not discover any person who appeared to be the o^^^le^ 
of the voice, and was leaving the position he had taken 
on the forward deck of the steamer, when his name 
was repeated, in the same low and cautious tone. 

"• Wlio is it? Where arc you?" said Tom, look- 
ing all about him, among the groups of soldiers who 
were gathered on various parts of the deck, discussing 
the present and the future. 



TOM SOMERS IS THE ARMY. 99 

*' Here, Tom," replied the voice, which sounded 
more tamiliar every time he heard it. 

He tm-ued his eye in the direction from which the 
sound proceeded, and there, coiled up behind a heap of 
barrels and boxes, and concealed by a sail-cloth which 
had been thrown over the goods to protect them 
from an expected shower, he discovered Fred Pem- 
berton. 

" What in the name of creation are you doing there, 
Fred?" exclaimed Tom, laughing at the ludicrous atti- 
tude of the embryo secessionist. 

" Hush ! Don't say a word, Tom. Sit down here 
where I can talk with you," added Fred. 

'' AVhat are you doing here?" 

'• I'll tell if you will keep quiet a moment. Is the 
company full ? " 

'* AVhat company?" 

*' Captain Benson's, of course." 

" No." 

"• I want to join." 

" You I " ejaculated Tom. 

" Come, come, Tom, no blackguarding now. You 
and I used to be good friends." 

" I've nothing against you, Fred — that is, if you're 
not a traitor." 

" I want to join the company." 

"Is vour father willing?" 



100 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" Of course he isn't ; but that needn't make any 
difference." 

" But you don't believe in our cause, Fred. We 
don't want a traitor in the ranks." 

" Hang tlie cause ! I want to go with the company." 

"Hang the cause? Well, I reckon that's a good 
recommendation." 

" I'm all right on that." 

" Are you willing to take the oath of allegiance, 
and swear to sustain the flag of your country?" 

" Of course I am. I only followed the old man's 
lead ; but I have got enough of it. Do you think Cap- 
tain Benson will take me into the company ? " 

" Perhaps he will." 

"Ask him — will you? You needn't say I'm here, 
you know." 

"But what will your father say?" 

" I don't care, what he says." 

Tom thought, if Fred didn't care, he needn't ; and 
going aft, he found the captain, and proposed to him 
the question. 

"Take him — yes. We'll teach him loyalty and 
patriotism, and before his time is out, we will make 
him an aboiitionist," replied Captain Benson. " What 
will bis father say?" 

" His father doesn't know any thing about it. Fred 
ran away, and followed the company into the city." 



TO At SOMEJiS I\ THE ARJO'T. nji 

" Squire Pembertou is a traitor, and I believe the 
army will be the best school in the world for his son," 
added the captain. " It will be better for him to be 
with us than to be at home. If it was the son of 
any other man in Pinchbrook, I wouldn't take him 
without the consent of his father ; as it is, I feel per- 
fectly justified in accepting him." 

Tom hastened to the forward deck to report the 
success of his mission. The result was, that Fred 
came out of his hiding-place, and exhibited himself to 
the astonished members of the Pinchbrook company. 
When he announced his intention to go to the war, and, 
with a pardonable flourish, his desire to serve his 
country, he was saluted with a volley of cheers. 
Captain Benson soon appeared on the forward deck, 
and the name of the new recruit was placed on the 
enlistment paper. 

Fred was seventeen years of age, and was taller 
and stouter than Tom Somers. Xo questions were 
asked in regard to his age or his physical ability to 
endure the hardships of a campaign. 

The steamer arrived at Fort Warren, and the com- 
pany landed. After waiting a short time on the 
wharf, the color company of the — th regiment, to 
which they were attached, came down and escorted 
them to the parade ground within the fort. It was a 
desolate and gloomy-looking place to Tom, who had 
9* 



1Q2 THE SOLDI Eli BUI', UR 

always lived among green fields, and the beautiful 
surroundings of a New England rural district. 

If the fort itself looked dreary, how much more so 
were the casemates in which the company was quar- 
tered ! But Tom's philosophy was proof against the 
unpleasant impression, and his joke was as loud and 
hearty as that of any of his companions. The men 
were divided off into messes, and they had an abun- 
dance of work to do m bringing up the company's 
lusro^ase, and makino: their new habitation as comfortable 
and pleasant as the circumstances would permit. 

The next day the Pinchbrook boys were designated 
as Company K, and placed in the regimental line. 
The limits of this volume do not permit me to detail 
the every-day life of the soldier boy while at Fort 
Warren, however interesting and instructive it might 
be to our friends. A large portion of the forenoon 
Avas devoted to squad and company drill, and of the 
afternoon to battalion drill. The colonel, though a 
Very diminutive man in stature, was an enthusiast in 
military matters, and had the reputation of being one of 
the most thorough and skilful officers in the state. Tom 
Somers, who, since he joined the company, had felt 
ashamed of himself because he was no bigger, became 
quite reconciled to his low corporeal estate when he 
found that the colonel of the regiment Avas no taller 
and no heavier than himself. And when he heard 



TOM SOMKRS IX THE ARMY. 1()3 

the high praise bestowed upon the colonel's military 
skill and martial energy, he came to the conclusion 
that it does not require a big man to make a good 
soldier. AVith a feeling of satisfaction he recalled the 
fact that Napoleon Bonaparte, Avhen he commanded 
the army of Italy, was scarcely a bigger man than the 
colonel or himself. 

The colonel was a strict disciplinarian, and he soon 
diffused his energy throughout the regiment. It made 
rapid progress in its military education. Tom was 
deeply interested in the details of his new profession, 
and used his best endeavors to do his duty promptly 
and faithfully. This was not the case with all the 
boys in the company from Pinchbrook, and I am 
sorry to say that some of them, including the brave 
and chivalric Ben Lethbridge, had to sit upon the stool 
of repentance in the guard room on several occasions. 

Fred Pemberton was clothed in the uniform of the 
United States volunteers, and Ave must do him the 
justice to say that he performed his duty to the entire 
satisfaction of his officers. Fred was a good fellow, 
and, barring his treason, which he had derived from 
his father, was highly esteemed by those who knew 
him. The only stain that had ever rested upon his char- 
acter was removed, and he and Tom were as good 
friends as ever they had been. His motive in joining 
the army, however, could not be applauded. He 



104 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

thought all his friends were going off to the South 
upon a kind of frolic, spiced with a little of peril 
and hardship to make it tlic more exciting, and he 
did not like the idea of heing left behind. To the 
sentiment of patriotism, as developed in the soul of Tom 
Somers and many of his companions, he was an entire 
stranger. He was going to the war to participate 
in the adventures of the — th regiment, rather than 
to fiijht for the flaor which had been insulted and dis- 
honored by treason. 

Every day the steamers brought crowds of visitors 
to the fort to see their friends in the regiments quar- 
tered there, or to witness the drills and parades which 
were constantly succeeding each other. Among them 
came many of the people of Pinchbrook, and Tom was 
delighted by a visit from his whole family. His moth- 
er found him so comfortable and contented that she 
returned with half the heavy burden on her sold 
removed. 

"While the Pinchbrook boys were generally rejoiced 
to see their friends from home, there was one in the 
company who was in constant dread lest he should 
recognize a too familiar face in the crowds which the 
steamers daily poured into the fort. Fred Pemberton 
did not wish to see his nearest friends ; but after he 
had been in the company some ten days, just as the 
boys had been dismissed from the forenoon drill, he 



TOM SO MENS /A' TIIK ARMY. 



105 



discovered at a distance the patriarchal form of his 
father. 

" My pipe's out, Tom," said Fred, as he rushed 
into the casemate where a group of his companions 
were resting from the fatigues of the morning. 

''What's the matter now, Fred?" 

'' The old man has just come into the fort." 

'•Has he?" 

"Yes — what shall I do?" 

" Keep a stiff upper lip, Fred, and we w411 put you 
through all right," said Sergeant Porter. 

" "What shall I do ? " demanded Fred, who, what- 
ever his views in regard to the justice or injustice of 
coercion, did not wish to be taken from the company. 

" Come with me," said the sergeant, as he led the 
way into an adjoining casemate. " No ; nobody else 
will come," added he, motioning back other members 
of the mess who was disposed to follow. 

In the cffsemate to which Sergeant Porter conducted 
Fred, there Avas a pile of boxes, in which the muskets 
of one of the regiments had been packed. The fugi- 
tive from his father's anxious search was directed to 
get into one of these boxes, from which the sergeant 
removed the gun rests. He obeyed ; his confederate 
put ou.the lid so as to permit him to receive a plen- 
tiful supply of air, and other boxes were placed upon 
that containing the runaway. 



106 ^^-E" SOLDIER BOY. OR 

Squire Pemberton presented himself before Captain 
Benson, and demanded his son. JFred was sent for, 
but could not be found. Sergeant Porter kept out of 
the way, and not another man in the company knew 
any thing about him. The boys were very willing to 
assist the indignant father in his search, but all their 
efforts were unarailing. The squire examined every 
casemate, and every nook and corner upon the island, 
but without effect, 

" I want my son, sir," said the squire, angrily, to 
the captain. " I require you to produce him." 

" I don't know where he is," replied Captain Ben- 
son. 

" You have concealed him, sir." 

" I have not." 

The squire appealed to the colonel, but obtained no 
satisfaction, and was obliged to leave without accom- 
plishing his purpose. As soon as he had gone, Fred 
appeared, and the boys laughed for a .week over 
the affair. 



TOM SOAfERS IX THE ARAfY. 107 



CHAPTER XI. 

IX WASHINGTON . 

y\X the 17th of June, the regiment left Fort 
1 1 J Warren, and after being conveyed by steamer 
VL>y to Boston, marched to Camp Cameron. Here 
the '' little colonel" displayed his energy and military 
skill to much greater advantage than when within the 
narrow confines of the fort. The men were not only care- 
fully and persistently drilled, but they were educated, as 
far as the circumstances would permit, for the arduous 
duties of a campaign. 

Tom Somers had already begun to feel a soldier's 
pride in his new situation ; and though he found that 
being a soldier boy was not always the easiest and the 
pleasantest thing in the world, he bore his trials with 
philosophical patience and fortitude, and made the most of 
whatever joys the circumstances placed within his reach. 
Others grumbled, but he did not. He declared that 
he had enlisted for the war, and meant to take things as 
they came. It was not exactly agreeable to stand on 
guard for two hours, on a cold, rainy night ; but grum- 



108 '^^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

biiug would not make it any the more agreeable, and 
only made the grumbler discontented and unhappy. It 
did not look like "• the pomp and circumstance of Avar," 
and no doubt most of the boys in the Pinchbrook com- 
pany would have been better satisfied in their own 
houses in " the village by the sea." But most of these 
men had left their happy homes under the inspiration of 
the highest and truest motives. They were going forth 
to fight the battles of their imperilled country, and this 
reflection filled them with a heroism which the petty 
trials and discomforts of the camp could not impair. 

While the regiment was at Camp Cameron, the state 
colors and a standard, procured by the liberality of its 
friends, were presented ; and the patriotic speeches deliv- 
ered on this occasion made a deep impression upon the 
mind and heart of the soldier boy. To him they were 
real — perhaps more real than to those who uttered the 
burning words. He was in a situation to feel the full 
force of the great sacrifice which the soldier makes for 
his country. He devoted himself, heart and soul, to the 
cause ; and what was but an idle sentiment in the mind 
of the flowery speech-makers, was truth and soberness 
to him who was to meet the foe at the cannon's mouth 
and at the bayonet's point. 

"'"We are off on the 29th," said old Hapgood, one 
evening, as he entered the barrack where Tom was writ- 
ins a letter to his mother. 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 



109 



" Good I I am glad to hear it. I was just telliug my 
mother that I hoped we should not have to stay much 
longer in tliis place," replied Tom. 

*' I think we are having an easy time of it here," 
added the veteran. '' When you find out what hunger 
and fatigue mean, you will learu to be contented with 
such a place as this." 

••I'm contented enough; but I want to get into the 
field, and have something done." 

•• Time enough, my boy. I used to feel just so, Tom, 
when I went to Mexico ; but after a while I got so I 
didn't care what we did or where we went." 

Tom added a postscript to his letter, informing his 
mother of the time fixed for the departure of the regi- 
ment. The intelligence in this instance proved to be 
correct, for on the appointed day the little colonel 
marched his command into the city, where it ^vas duly 
embarked on the cars for New York. It vras a day of 
excitement, for the streets of the city were thronged 
Avith people, whose cheers and applause were the benison 
with which the regiment went forth to db and to die for 
the nation. Tom was delighted with this Marm recep- 
tion, but more by meeting his mother and his brother 
and sisters at the station. It was a joyous and yet a 
sad meeting. Mrs. Somers wept ; and what mother 
vvould not weep to see her son gp forth to encounter the 
perils of the battle-field, and the greater perils of the camp ? 
10 



IIQ THE SOLDIER DOT, OR 

It was a sad parting ; and many a mother's heart was 
torn with anguish on that day, when she pressed her 
noble boy to her bosom, for the last .time, as she gave 
him to his country. Cold, stern men, who had never 
wept before, wept then — the flesh that was in their 
stony hearts yielded its unwilling tribute to nature and 
affection. 

'* All aboard I " shouted the officers, when the train 
was ready to depart. 

" God bless you, my boy ! " sobbed Mrs. Somers, as 
she kissed her son. " Be good and true, and don't for- 
get to read your Testament." 

" Good by, mother," was all that Tom could say, as 
he grasped his musket, which John had been holding for 
him, and rushed into the ear. 

The train moved off amid the cheers of the thou- 
sands who had gathered to witness their departure. At 
this moment, more than ever before, the soldier boy 
realized what he had done when he entered the service. 
He listened to the shouts of the multitude, but he was 
sad and silent. Tie sank into his seat, and gave himself 
up to the anguish of the hour. Ou and on dashed the 
train, and his thoughts still dwelt upon the home and the 
mother he had left behind him. 

Our readers can better imagine than we can describe 
the feelings of the soldier boy during that long night. 
The regiment arrived in New York at half past ten in 



Toyr soMERS IX THE Aii.ur. m 

the forenoon of the following day, and was escorted up 
Broadway by the Sons of Massachusetts. At the Park, 
it was warmly welcomed by the President of the Sons, 
and as the little colonel was a better soldier than a 
>peech-maker, the response was made by the surgeon. 
By this time, Tom was able to enter into the spirit of 
the occasion, and the flattering ovation bestowed upon 
the regiment was a source of personal pride and satisfac- 
tion. The little colonel's command was declared to be 
the best drilled and most soldierly body of men* which 
had yet departed for the battle-fields of the republic. 

, Tlie great city was full of wonders to the soldier boy, 
and during the few hours he remained there, he was in 
a constant whirl of excitement. If the mission before 
him had been less grand and sublime, he could have 
wished to spend a few days in exploring the wonders of 
the great metropolis ; but the stupendous events that 
loomed up in the future, prophetic even to the inexpe- 
rienced eye of youth, engrossed all his thoughts. He 
partook of the bountiful collation in the Park, and was 
content to march on to scenes more thrillin": and excitini? 
than the tumult of the busv citv. 

The regiment took a steamer, at half past four, for 
Elizabethport, and tlicnce proceeded by railroad to Wash- 
ington, by the way of Ilarrisburg. Some portions of the 
journey were performed under the most trying circum- 
stances. The men were crowded, like sheep, into unsuit- 



112 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

able cars, so that not only were they subjected to many 
needless discomforts, but their very lives were endan- 
gered. On the way, two men were crowded out of a 
car, and, for a time, were supposed to have been killed. 

On the 2d of July, they arrived at "Washington, and 
Tom had an opportunity to see the " city of magnificent 
distances," of which he had heard so much. The resi- 
ment marched from the station, through Pennsylvania 
Avenue, to their camp gi'ound in the rear of the White 
House. They were received with enthusiasm by the 
people, but the miserable uniforms with which they had 
been supplied, now faded and dilapidated, with the finish- 
ing touch of destruction given to them by the perilous 
journey they had made, gave the politicians their first 
lesson on the worthlessness of " shoddy." 

The regiment entered the grounds of the White House, 
and as it passed up the avenue, President Lincoln ap- 
peared in front of his mansion. The boys greeted him 
with a volley of stunning cheers, Avliich the President 
acknowledged by a series of bows, which were not half 
so ungraceful as one might have expected after reading 
the descriptions of him contained in the newspapers. 

To Tom Somers the President was a great institution, 
and he could scarcely believe that he was looking upon 
the chief magistrate of this great nation. He was filled 
with boyish wonder and astonishment ; but, after all, he 
was forced to admit that the President, though a tall 



TOM SO ME as IX THE AliMY. l\^ 

specimen of hiimanit}', looked very much like the rest 
of maukiml — to borrow a phrase from one of his illus- 
trious predecessors. 

Tom was too tired to wonder long at the grandeur of 
the Capitol, and the simple magnificence of the President. 
The tents were pitched, and the weary men were allowed 
a season of rest. In a couple of days, however, our^ 
soldier boy was " as good as new." 

*' Come, Tom, it is about time for you to see some- 
thing of tlie city," said Ben Lethbridgo, one afternoon, 
after the regiment had become fairly settled in its new 
quarters. 

'• I should like to take a tramp. There are lots of con- 
gn^essmen here, and I should like to know what they look 
like," replied Tom. " I haven't been outside the lines 
since we came here." 

'* I l^ave ; and I'm going again ! Fred and I mean to 
have a good time to-day. Will you go?" 

" Have you got a pass?" 

*' A pass ! AVhat a stupid ! What do you want of a 
pass? You can't get one. They won't give any." 

** Tlien we can't go, of coui-sc." 

*' Bah ! AVhat a gi-cat calf you arc ! Don't you 
want to cry again?" 

" Ben, you needn't say cnj to me again as long as you 
live," add^d Tom. " If you do, I'll give you something 
to cry for.'* 

10* 



114 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

Tom did not like the style of remark which the other 
had adopted. He was angry, and, as he spoke, his fist 
involuntarily clinched, and his eye looked fierce and de- 
termined. 

" Come, come, Tom ; don't bristle up so. If you are 
a man, just show that you are, and come along with us." 

" I say, Ben, I want to know who's a baby or a calf, you 
or I, before we go. I won't stand any more of your lip." 

"Will you go with us?" demanded Ben, who was 
rather disposed to dodge the issue. 

" "What do you mean by calling me a calf and a baby? 
And this isn't the first time you've done it." 

" Don't you know that every man in the regiment has 
been all over the city, and without any pass ? "NVhen I 
ask vou to go, you begin to talk about a pass." 

'' I choose to obey orders," replied Tom. 

" O, you daresn't go with us." 

" Come along ! " said Tom, who had not yet learned to 
bear the taunts of his companion. 

" Get your pail." 

Tom got his pail, and was immediately joined by Fred 
and Ben, each of whom was also supplied Avith a pail. 
There Avas no Avater to be had Avithin the camp ground, 
and the men Avere obliged to bring it in pails from the 
hydrants in the street. A pail, therefore, AA'as quite as 
good as a Avritten document to enable them ^ pass the 
£ruard. 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. J 15 

The party thus provided had no difficulty in passing the 
sentinels. At a convenient place outside the line, they 
concealed the pails, and, for three hours, roamed at will 
over the city. 

" Now, Tom, you wanted to see the congressmen ? " 
said Ben, after they had ''done" the city pretty thor- 
oughly. 

** Yes, but I have seen them at the Capitol." 

'* But don't you want to get nearer to them, and hear 
them talk?" 

- AVell, I should like to." 

'• Come with us, then." 

Ben led the way down the avenue, and entered a 
building not far from the railroad station. After passing 
through a long, narrow entry, they ascended a flight of 
stairs, at tlie head of which the conductor gave two raps. 
The door was opened by a negro, and they were invited 
to enter. At a table in the middle of the room was 
seated a foppish-looking man, who held in his hand a 
silver box. As he turned it, Tom saw that it contained 
a pack of cards. 

*' Where are your congressmen?" asked the soldier 
boy, whose eyes had been opened by the appearance of 
the cards. 

" They will be here pretty soon," replied Ben. 

The foppish man looked at his watch, and declared 
they would come in the course of five or ten minutes. 



IIQ THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

He then took the cards out of the box, and, after shuf- 
fling them, returned them to their place. Fred placed a 
" quarter" on the table ; the gambler put another by its 
side, and drew out a card from the silver case. Tom did 
not understand the game ; but his companion put the 
quarters in his "pocket. 

" See that, Tom ! " said he. '' Got any money ? " 

" If I have I shall keep it." 

" Put down a quarter, and make another." 

" No, sir ! I'm no gambler I " replied Tom, with 
emphasis. 

" Quite respectable, I assure you," added the blackleg 
at the table. 

" I'm going," said Tom, decidedly. 

" Baby ! " sneered Ben. " Afraid to play I " 

" I won't play ! I'm going." 

The negro opened the door, and*he passed out. Con- 
trary to his expectation, he was followed by Fred and 
Ben. 

'• Baby is afraid of cards ! " sneered Ben, as they 
passed through the long entry. 

" Afraid of cards, but not afraid of you," replied Tom, 
as he planted a heavy blow between the eyes of his com- 
panion. 

Ben Lethbridge returned the blow, and it cost him 
another, and there was a prospect of quite a lively 
skirmish in the entry ; but Fred Pemberton interposed 



TOM SOMEHS I.\ Tin: A It M Y . jj^ 

his good offices, and effected a compromise, which, like 
most of the political compromises, was only the post- 
ponement of the conflict. 

''I told you not to call me 'baby,' again," said Tom, 
as they passed out of the building. •• 1 will convince 
you before I am done that I'm not a baby." 

Ben found it convenient to offer no reply to this plain 
statement of facts, and the three soldiers made their way 
back to the camp, and, having obtained their pails and 
fdled them with w^ater at the hydrants, they passed the 
guard without a question. 



llg THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XII. 



ON TO RICHMOND. 



^i T SO happened that Ben Lethbridge, probably 
^1 satisfied that it was not the fist of a baby 
which had partially blackened both of his 
eyes, and produced a heavy pain under his left ear, 
did not demand the satisfaction which was needed to 
heal his wounded honor. The matter was duly dis- 
cussed in the tent of Tom's mess ; but our soldier 
boy, while he professed to be entirely satisfied, was 
willino- to meet Ben at such time and place as he 
desired, and finish up the afifair. . 

The other party was magnanimous, and declared 
that he too was satisfied ; and old Hapgood thought 
they had better proceed no further with the afifair, 
for both of them might be arrested for disorderly 
conduct. 

" I am satisfied, Ben ; but if you ever call me a 
baby or a calf again, it will all have to be settled 
over again," said Tom, as he laid aside his musket, 
which he had been cleaninor during the conversation. 



TOM SOMhUS y-V J U £ A li M 1 . |]^9 

*' I dou't want to quarrel with you, Tom," replied 
Ben, " but I wish you would be a little more like 
the rest of the fellows." 

" What do you mean bv that ? I am like the rest 
of the fellows." 

*' You wouldn't play cards." 

" Yes, I will play cards, but I won't gamble ; and 
there isn't many fellows in the company that will." 

" That's so," added Ilap^ood. " i know all about 
that business. When I went to Mexico, I lost my 
money as fast as I got it, playing cards. Don't 
gamble, boys." 

•^ 1 won't, for one," said Tom, with emphasis. 

''Are you going to set up for a soldier-saint, too?" 
sneered Ben, turning to the old man. 

" I'm no saint, but I've lamed better than to 
gamble." 

" I think you'd better stop drinking too," added Ben. 

"Come, Ben, you arc meaner than dirt," said 
Tom, indignantly. 

Old Ilapgood was a confirmed toper. The people in 
Pinchbrook said he was a good man, but, they used to 
add, with a shrug of the shoulders, •' pity he drinks." 
It was a sad pity, but he seemed to have no power 
over his appetite. The allusion of Ben to his be- 
setting sin was cruel and mortifying, for the old man 
had certainly tried to reform, and since the regiment 



120 ^-H^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

left Boston, he had not tasted the intoxicating cup. 
He had declared before the jness that he had stopped 
drinking ; so his resolution was known to all his 
companions, though none of them had much confi- 
dence in his ability to carry it out. 

'• I didn't speak to you, Tom wSomers," said Ben, 
sharply. 

'^ You said a mean thing in my presence." 

" By and by we shall be having a prayer meeting in 
our tent every night." 

'^ If you are invited I hope you will come," added 
Tom, " for if prayers will do any body any good, 
they won't liurt you." 

" If you will take care of yourself, and let me 
alone, it's all I ask of you." 

" I'm asrreed." 

This was about the last of the skirmishinsc be- 
tween Tom and Ben. The latter was a little dis- 
posed to be a bully ; and from the time the company 
left Pinchbrook, be had been in the habit of calling 
Tom a baby, and other opprobrious terms, till the 
subject of his sneers could endure them no longer. 
Tom had come to the conclusion that he could ob- 
tain respectful treatment only by the course he had 
adopted. Perhaps, if he had possessed the requisite 
patience, he might have attained the same result by a 
less repulsive and more noble policy. 



TOM SOMEHS IS THE ARMY. 121 

The regiment remained in Washington about a fort- 
nJLjlit. The capital was nq longer considered to be' in 
danger. A large body of troops had been massed in 
and around the city, and the rebels' boast that they would 
soon capture AVashiugton was no longer heeded. Fear 
and anxiety had given place to hope and expectation. 
" On to Richmond ! " was the cry sounded by the 
newspapers, and repeated by the people. The army 
ol* newly-fledged soldiers was burning with eagerness 
to be led against the rebels. "On to Richmond!" 
shouted citizens and soldiers, statesmen and politicians. 
Some cursed and some deprecated the cautious slow- 
ness of the old general who had never been defeated. 

'' On to Richmond ! " cried the boys in Tom's regi- 
ment, and none more earnestly than he. 

" Don't hurry old Scott. He knows what he is 
about. I know something about this business, for I've 
seen old Scott where the bullets flew thicker 'n snow 
flakes at Christmas," was the oft-repeated reply of Hap- 
good, the veteran of Company K. 

The movement which had been so long desired and 
expected was made at last, and the regiment struck 
its tents, and proceeded over Long Bridge into Virginia. 
The first camp was at Shuter's Hill, near Alexandria. 

'' Xow we are in for it," said Tom Somers, when 
the mess gathered in their tent after the camp was 
formed. " I hope we shall not remain here long." 
11 



J22 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" Don't be in a hurry, my brave boy," said old Hap- 
good. " We may stop here a month." 

" I hope not." 

" Don't hope any thing about it, Tom. Take things 
as they come." 

But the impatience of the soldier boy -svas soon re- 
lieved ; for at daylight on the morning of the IGth 
of July, the regiment was routed out, the tents vrerc 
struck, and at nine o'clock ihcy took up iho line cf 
march to the southward. It was "on to Richmond," 
in earnest, now, and merrily marched the men, who 
little knew what trials and sufferings, what scenes of 
blood and death, lay in their path. 

The little colonel's command had been put in Frank- 
lin's brigade, which formed a part of Heintzelman's 
division ; but little did Tom or his fellow-soldiers 
know of any thing but their owti regiment. The 
" sacred soil " of Virginia seemed to be covered with 
Federal soldiers, and whichever Avay he turned, col- 
umns of troops might be seen, all obedient to the one 
grand impulse of the loyal nation — ''On to Ricli- 
mond." 

The great wagons, gun carriages, and caissons roll- 
ing slowly along, the rattling drums, with here and 
there the inspiring strains of a band, the general officers, 
with their staffs, were full of interest and excitement 
to the soldier boy ; and though the business before him 



TO.\r SOMKRS IS TliK ARMY. 123 

was stern and terrible, yet it seemed like some great 
pageant, moving grandly along to celebrate, rather 
than will, a glorious triumph. 

The novelty of the movement, however, soon wore 
awav, and it required only a few hours to convince 
the inexperienced soldiers in our regiment that it was 
no idle pageajat in which they were engaged. The 
short intervals of rest which were occasionally allowed 
were moments to be appreciated'. All day long they 
toiled upon their weary way, praying for the night to 
come, with its coveted hours of repose. The night did 
come, but it brought no rest to the weary and foot- 
sore soldiers. 

Tom was terribly fatigued. His knapsack, which 
had been light upon his buoyant frame in the mom- 
in"", now seemed to weigh two hundred pounds, while 
his musket had grown proportionally heavy. Ilcur 
after hour, in the darkness of that gloomy night, he 
trudged on, keeping his place in the ranks with a 
resolution which neither the long hours nor the weary 
miles could break down. 

" I can't stand this much longer," whined Ben Lcth- 
bridge. " I shall drop pretty soon, and die by the 
roadside." 

'^ No, you won't," added Hapgood. *' Stick to it a 
little wiiile longer ; never say die." 

"I can't stand it." 



124 '^^^^ SOLDIER jjoy, on 

" Yes, you can. Only think you can, and you can," 
added the veteran. 

" What do tliey think we Jire made otf ? We can't 
march all day and all night. I wish I was at 
home." 

" I wish I hadn't come," said Fred Pemberton. 

" Cheer up ! cheer up, boys. Stick to it a little 
longer," said the veteran. 

It was three o'clock the next morning before they were 
permitted to halt, when the boys rolled themselves up 
in their blankets, and dropped upon the ground. It 
was positKe enjoyment to Tom, and he felt happy ; 
for rest was happiness when the body was all worn out. 
A thought of the cottage and of his mother crossed 
his mind, and he dropped asleep to dream of the joys 
of home. 

Short and sweet was that blessed time of rest ; for at 
four o'clock, after only one brief hour of repose, the 
regiment was turned out again, and resumed its weary 
march to the southward. But that short interval of 
rest was a fountain of strength to Tom, and without 
a murmur he took his place by the side of his grum- 
bling companions. Ben and Fred were disgusted with 
the army, and wanted to go back ; but that was im- 
possible. 

Again, for weary hours, they toiled upon the march. 
They passed Fairfax, and encamped near the railroad 



TOM SOMEBS IX THE ARMY. 125 

Station, where a full night's rest was allowed them. 
By the advice of Hapgood, Tom went to a brook, and 
washed his aching feet in cold water. The veteran 
campaigner gave him other useful hints, which were 
of great service to him. That night he had as good 
reason to bless the memory of the man who invented 
sleep as ever Sancho Panza had, and every honr was 
fully improved. 

At six o'clock, the next morning, the regiment 
marched again. Tom's legs were stiff, but he felt so 
much better than on the preceding day, that he began 
to think that he could stand any thing. In- the early 
part of the afternoon his ears were saluted by a new 
sound — one which enabled him more fully than before 
to realize the nature of the mission upon which he had 
been sent. It was the roar of cannon. On that day 
was fought the battle of Blackburn's Ford ; and when 
the regiment reached its halting-place at Centreville, the 
?tory of the light Avas told by enthusiastic lips. Massa- 
[*husetts men had stood firm and resolute before the 
■irtillery and musketry of the rebels, and every man 
sN'ho heard the story was proud that he hailed from 
he Old Bay State, and panted for the time when he 
night show himself worthy of his origin, and true to 
he traditions of the past. 

The regiment lay in camp the two following days, 
md the men had an opportunity to recover in some 
11 * 



126 ^-^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

measure from the fatigues of their first severe march. 
Visions of glory and victory were beginning to dawn 
upon them. They had listened to the cannon of the 
enemy, and they knew that the rebels were not many 
miles distant in front of them. A few days, perhaps a few 
hours, would elapse before the terrible conflict would 
commeace. Some of those manly forms must soon 
sleep in the soldier's grave ; some of those beating 
hearts must soon cease to beat forever ; but still the 
brave and the true longed for the hour that would 
enable them to " strike home " for the nation's sal- 
vation. 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 127 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE BATTLK OF BULL RL'N. 

, . UMBLEout! Tumble out!" shouted the ser- 
if I g^'^iiit, -who Avas in the mess with the soldiers 
VJ^ Ave have introduced. " Reveille ! Don't you 
hear it ? " 

" But it isn't morning," growled Ben Lethbridge. 

" I haven't been asleep more than an hour or two," 
snarled Fred Pemberton. 

" Shut up your Keads, and turn out ! " said the 
sergeant. 

It was the morning of the eventful twenty-first of 
July, and it was only two o'clock when the regiment 
was roused from its slumbers ; but there was no great 
hardship in this fact, for most of the men had been 
sleeping the greater portion of the time during the 
preceding two days. Tom Somers was ready to take 
his place in the line in a few moments. 

" Come, fellows, hurry up," said he to his tardy 
companions. " The time has come, and, I tell you, 
there'll be music before many hours." 



128 ^^-^ SOLDIER BOY', OR 

"Where are* Ave going, Tom? Have you any idea?" 
asked Fred. 

" Going down to Manassas Junction, I suppose. 
That's where the rebels arc." 

" Do you suppose we shall get into a fight-^* " 
asked Ben. 

" I don't know ; I hope so." 

" So do I," returned Ben, faintly ; " but I don't like 
to be broke of my rest in this way." 

Tom, full of excited anticipations in regard to the 
events of the day, laughed heartily at this reply, and 
left the tent. The regiment was formed in line, but 
there were two vacancies in the section to Avhich he 
belonged. Fred and Ben had answered to their names 
at roll call. On some pretence they had asked permis- 
sion to leave the line for a few moments, and that 
was the last that had been seen of them. 

" Where do suppose they are ? " said Tom to 
Hapgood. 

*' I don't know. I hain't got much confidence in 
Ben's pluck, and I shouldn't wonder if he had run 
away." 

" But that is desertion." 

" That's just what yoii may call it ; and I've seen 
men shot for it." 

The regiment remained in line several hours before 
the order came to move. At daylight, while the men 



TOM SO ME as IN THE ARMY. ]^v>9 

were still standing in the road, four soldiers, attended 
by a staff olHcer, conducted the two missing men of 
Company K into the presence of the regiment. 

'^ These men say they belong to your regiment," 
said the officer, saluting the little colonel. 

Captain Benson immediately claimed them, and Fred 
and Ben were ordered into the ranks. 

"Cowards — are you?" said the captain. "You 
shall take your places in the ranks, and at the rio-ht 
time we will settle this case." 

"I enlisted without my father's consent, and you 
can't hold me if I don't choose to stay," replied Fred 
Pemberton. 

"Next time you must ask your father before you 
come. It is too late to repent now." 

" I'm going home." 

"No, you're not. Sergeant, if either of those men 
attempt to leave the ranks again, shoot them ! " said 
the captain. 

Fred and Ben took their places in the ranks amid 
the laughter and jeers of the company. 

"Who's the baby now?" said Bob Dornton. 

" You have disgraced the company," added old Hap- 
good. "I didn't think you would run away before 
the battle commenced." 

" I shall keep both eyes on you, my boys, and if 
you skulk again, I'll obey orders — by the Lord Harry, 



130 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

I -will I " said the sergeant, as he glanced at the lock 
of his musket. " Company K isn't going to be laughed 
at for your cowardice." 

At six o'clock the order came for the brigade to 
march. It now consisted of only three regiments, for 
the time of one, composed of three months' men, had ex- 
pired while at Centreville ; and though requested and 
importuned to remain a few days longer, they basely 
withdrew, even while they were on the very verge of 
the battle-field. This regiment left, and carried with 
it the scorn and contempt of the loyal and true men, 
who "were as ready to fight the battles of their coun- 
try on one day as on another. 

The men knew they were going to battle now, for the 
enemy was only a few miles distant. The soldier boy's 
heart was full of hope. He knew npt Avhut a battle 
was ; he could form no adequate conception of the ter- 
rible scene which was soon to open upon his view. He 
prayed and trusted that he might be able to do his duty 
Avith courage and fidelity. To say that he had no doubts 
and fears would be to say that he was not human. 

As the brigade toiled slowly along, he tried to pic- 
ture the scene which Avas before him, and thus make 
himself familiar Avith its terrors before he was actually 
called to confront them. He endeavored to imagine the 
sounds of screaming shells and whistling bullets, that 
the reality, Avhen it came, might not appall him. He 



TOM SOMERS IN THE A li M Y . 



131 



thought of his companions dropping dead around him, 
of his friends mangled by bayonets and cannon shot ; 
he painted tlie most terrible picture of a battle which 
his imagination could conjure up, hoping in this man- 
ner to be prepared for the worst. 

The day was hot, and the sun poured down his 
scorching rays^upon the devoted soldiers as they pur- 
sued their weary march. They were fatigued by con- 
tinued exertion, and some of the weary ones, when the 
sun approached the meridian, began to hope the great 
battle would not take place on that day. Tom Somers, 
nearly worn out by the tedious march, and half fiimished 
after the scanty breakfast of hard bread he had eaten 
before daylight, began to feel that he was in no con- 
dition to face the storm of bullets which he had been 
imagining. 

No orders came to halt at noon, though the crowded 
roads several times secured them a welcome rest : but 
on marched the weary soldiers, till the roar of cannon 
broke upon their ears ; and as they moved farther on, 
the rattling volleys of musketry were heard, denotino- 
that the battle had already commenced. These notes 
of strife were fuU of inspiration to the loyal and pa- 
triotic in the columns. A new life was breathed into 
them. They were enthusiastic in the good cause, and 
their souls immediately became so big that what had 
been body before seemed to become spirit now. They 



J^32 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

forgot their empty stomachs and their weary limbs. 
The music of battle, wild and terrible as it was to 
these untutored soldiers, charmed away the weariness 
of the body, and, to the quickstep of thundering cannon 
and crashing musketry, they pressed on with elastic 
tread to the horrors before them. 

Tom felt that he had suddenly and miraculously been 
made over anew. He could not explain the reason, but 
his legs had ceased to ache, his feet to be sore, and 
his musket and his knapsack were deprived of their 
superfluous weight. 

"God be with me in this battle!" he exclaimed 
to himself a dozen times. " God give me strength 
and courage ! " 

Animated by his trust in Him who will always sus- 
tain those who confide in him, the soldier boy pressed 
on, determined not to disgrace the name he bore. The 
terrible sounds became more and more distinct as the 
regiment advanced, and in about two hours after the 
battle had opened, the brigade arrived at the field of 
operations. One regiment was immediately detached 
and sent off in one direction, while the other two were 
ordered to support a battery on a hill, from which it was 
belching forth a furious storm of shells upon the rebels. 

The little colonel's sword gleamed in the air, as he 
gave the order to march on the double-quick to the 
position assigned to him. 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 133 

" Now, Tom, steady, aud thiuk of nothing but God 
and your country," said old Hapgood, as the regiment 
commenced its rapid march. " I know somethino- 
about this business, and I can tell you we shall have 
hot work before we get through with it." 

''Where are the rebels? I don't see any," asked 
Tom, who found that his ideas of the manner in which 
a battle is fought were very much at fault. 

*' You will see them very soon. They are in their 
breastworks. There ! Look down there ! " exclaimed 
the veteran as the regiment reached a spot which 
commanded a full view of the battle. 

Tom looked upon the fearful scene. The roar of 
the artillery and the cra^li of the small arms were 
absolutely stunning. He saw men fall, and lie mo- 
tionless on the ground, where they were trampled 
upon by the horses, and crushed beneath the wheels of 
cannon and caisson. But the cry was, that the army 
of the Union had won the field, and it inspired him 
with new zeal and new courage. 

Scarcely had the remnant of the brigade reached 
the right of the battery, before they were ordered to 
charge down the valley, by Colonel Franklin, the acting 
brigadier. They were executing the command Avith a 
dash and vigor that would have been creditable to 
veterans, when they were ordered to cross the ravine, 
and support the Fire Zouaves. The movement was 
12 



134 THE SOLDIER BOY, OH 

made, and Tom soon found himself in the thickest of 
the fight. Shot and shell were flying in every direc- 
tion, and the bullets hissed like hailstones around 
him. 

In spite of all his preparations for this awful scene, 
his \eart rose up into his throat. His eyes were 
blinded by the volumes of rolling smoke, and his mind 
confused by the rapid succession of incidents that were 
transpiring around him. The pictures he had painted 
were sunhght and golden compared with the dread 
reality. Dead and dying men strewed the ground in 
every direction. Wounded horses were careering on 
a mad course of destruction, trampling the wounded 
and the dead beneath their feet. The hoarse shouts 
of the officers were heard above the roar of battle. 
The scene mocked all the attempts which the soldier 
boy had made to imagine its horrors. 

In front of the regiment were the famous Fire 
Zouaves, no longer guided and controlled by the mas- 
ter genius of Ellsworth. They fought like tigers, fu- 
riously, madly ; but all discipline had ceased among 
them, and they rushed wildly to the right and the 
left, totally heedless of their officers. They fought like 
demons, and as Tom saw them shoot do^^^l, hew down, 
or bayonet the hapless rebels who came within their 
reach, it seemed to him as though they had lost their 
humanity, and been transformed into fiends. 



Tom sumehs jy the army. 



135 



As soon us the regiment reached its position, the 
order was given to fire. Tom found this a happy re- 
lief; and when he had discharged his musket a few times, 
all thoughts of the horrors of the scene forsook him. 
He no longer saw the dead and the dying ; he no longer 
heard the appalling roar of battle. He had become a 
part of the scene, instead of an idle spectator. He was 
sending the bolt of deatli into the midst of tlie enemies 
of his country. 

" Bravo ! Good boy, Tom," said old Hapgood, wlio 
seemed to be as much at ease as when he had coun- 
selled patience and resignation in the quiet of the 
tent. " Don't fire too high, Tom." 

" I've got tlie idea," replied the soldier boy. *' I 
begin to feel quite at home." 

'• 0, you'll do ; and I knew you would from the 
first." 

The shouts of victory which had sounded over the 
field were full of inspiration to the men ; but at the 
moment when tlie laurels seemed to be resting securely 
upon our banners, the rebel line moved forward with 
irresistible fury. Tom, at one instant, as he cast his 
eye along the line, found himself flanked on either 
side by his comrades ; at the next there was a wild, 
indescribable tramp and roar, and he found himself 
alone. The regiment was scattered in every direction, 
and he did not see a single man whom he knew. 



136 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

There was a moving mass of Federal soldiers all around 
him. The Zouaves had been forced back, and the cry 
of victory had given place to the ominous sounds 
which betokened a defeat, if not a rout. 

The rebels had been reenforced, and had hurled theii 
fresh legions upon our exhausted troops, who could no 
longer roll back the masses that crowded upon them. 
The day was lost. 

Tom, bewildered by this sudden and disastrous re- 
sult, moved back with the crowds around him. Men 
had ceased to be brave and firm ; they were fleeing 
in mortal terror before the victorious battalions that 
sursred aorainst them. 

•*' It's all up with us, my lad," said a panting 
Zouave. " Run for your life. Come along with me.** 

Tom followed the Zouave towards the woods, the 
storm of bullets still raining destruction around them. 



TOM S0MBB3 IN THE ARMY. 187 



CHAPTER XIV. 



AFTER THE BATTLE. 



/^Pj^OM SOMERS floated ^^atll the tide of humanity 
/'■ that was setting away from the scene of disaster 
Vj/ and defeat. The panic that prevailed was even 
more fearful than the battle, for wounded and dying men 
were mercilessly trodden down by the feet of the horses, 
and run over by the wheels of the cannon and the bag- 
gage wagons. Though the battle was ended, the rebels 
still poured storms of shot and shell into the retreating, 
panic-stricken host. 

Tom did not know where to go, for there were 
panic and death on all sides of him. The soldiers were 
flying in every direction, some of them into the very 
arms of their remorseless enemies. But the woods 
seemed to promise the most secure retreat from the fury 
of the Black Horse Cavalry, which was now sweeping 
over the battle-field. The Zouave ran in this direction, 
and our soldier boy followed him. Now that the excite- 
ment of the conflict was over, the enthusiasm which had 
buoyed him up began to subside. The day was Jost ; 
12* 



138 THE SOLDIER BUY, OH 

all hopes of glory had fled ; and a total defeat and rout 
were not calculated to add much strength to his over- 
tasked limbs. 

He was nearly used up, and it was hard work to run — 
very hard work ; and nothing but the instinct of self- 
preservation enabled him to keep the tall and wiry form 
of the Zouave in sight. They reached the ravine, where 
the water was about three feet deep. The shot, and 
shell, and bullets still fell in showers around them, and 
occasionally one of the luckless fugitives was struck 
down. They crossed the stream, and continued on their 
flight. An officer on horseback dashed by them, and 
bade them run with all their might, or they would be 
taken. 

" For Heaven's sake, get me some water ! " said a 
rebel, who was wounded in the leg, to a "Zouave, who 
passed near him. 

" You are a rebel, but I will do that for you," replied 
the Zouave ; and he gave him a canteen filled with water. 

The rebel drank a long, deep draught, and then levelled 
his musket at the head of his Samaritan enemy and 
fired. This transaction had occupied but a moment, and 
Tom saw the whole. His blood froze "\A'ith horror at the 
unparalleled atrocity of the act. The Zouave, whom 
Tom had followed, uttered a terrible oath, and snatching 
the musket from the hands of the soldier boy, he rushed 
upoUi-the soulless miscreant, and transfixed him upon the 



TO.V SO.VL'HS IX THE AKMY. 139 

►ayouet. Uttering fierce curses all the time, he plunged 
he bayonet again and again into the vitals of the rebel, 
ill lite was extinct. 

• lioy, I used to be human once," said the Zouave, 
vhen ho had executed this summary justice upon the 
•ebel ; '• but I'm not human now. I'm all devil." 

" What a wretch that rebel was ! " exclaimed Tom, 
vho seemed to breathe freer now that retribution had 
)vertaken the viper. 

" A wretch ! Haven't you got any bigger word than 
;hat, boy? He was a fiend! But we musn't stop 
aere." 

" I thought the rebels were human." 

*' Human? That isn't the first time to-day I've seen 
such a thing as that done. Come along, my boy ; come 
along." 

Tom followed the Zouave again ; but he was too much 
exhausted to run any farther. Even the terrors of the 
Black Horse Cavalry could not inspire him with strength 
and courage to continue his flight at any swifter pace 
than a walk. 

*' I can go no farther," said he, at last. 

" Yes, you can ; puU up ! pull up ! You will be taken 
if you stop here." 

*» I can't help it. I can go no farther. I am used up." 

" Pull up, pull up, my boy ! " 

" I can't." 



14,0 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" But I don't -want to leave you here. They'll murder 
you — cut your throat, like a dog." 

" I will hide myself in the bushes till I get a little 
more strength." 

'• Try it a little longer. You are too good a fellow to 
be butchered like a calf," added the generous Zouave. 

But it was no use to plead with him, for exhausted 
nature refused to support him, and he dropped upon the 
ground like a log. 

" Poor fellow ! I would carry you in my arms if I 
could." 

" Save yourself if you can," replied Tom, faintly. 

The kind-hearted fireman was sorry to leave him, but 
he kne^V that one who wore his uniform could expect no 
mercy from the rebels. They had been too terrible upon 
the battle-field to receive any consideration from those 
whom they had so severely punished. He was, therefore, 
unwillinGC to trust himself to the tender mercies of the 
cavalry, who were sweeping the fields to pick up pris- 
oners ; and after asking Tom's name and regiment, he 
reluctantly left him. 

Tom had eaten nothing since daylight in the morning, 
which, added to the long march, and the intense excite- 
ment of his first battle-field, had apparently reduced him 
to the last extremity. Then, for the first time, he real- 
ized what it was to be a soldier. Then he thought of 
his happy home — of his devoted mother. What must 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 141 

ihe not suffer when the telegraph should flash over the 
vires the intelligence of the terrible disaster which had 
>vertaken the Union army ! It would be many days, if 
lot weeks or months, before she could know whether 
le was dead or alive. What anguish must she not 
mdure ! 

He had but a moment for thoughts like these before 
le heard the sweep of the rebel cavalry, as they dashed 
lown the road through the woods. He must not remain 
vhere he was, or the record of his earthly career would 
lOon be closed. On his hands and knees he crawled 
iway from the road, and rolled himself up behind a rot- 
en log, just in season to escape the olsservation of the 
lavalrymen as they rode by the spot. 

Here and there in the woods were the extended forms 
)f Federals and rebels, who had dragged their wounded 
Dodies away from the scene of mortal strife to breathe 
heir last in this holy sanctuary of nature, or to escape 
irom the death-dealing shot, and the mangling wheels 
:hat rumbled over the dead and the dying. Close by the 
soldier boj-^s retreat lay one who was moaning piteously 
for water. Tom had filled his canteen at a brook on the 
fvay, and he crawled up to the sufferer to lave his dying 
:hirst. On reaching the wounded man, he found that he 
was a rebel, and the fate of the Zouave who had done a 
similar kindness only a short timg before presented itself 
to his mind. 



142 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

*' Water ! Water ! For the love of God, give me a 
drop of water," moaned the dying soldier. 

Tom thought of the Zouave again, and had almost 
steeled his heart against the piteous cry. He turned 
away. 

"• Water ! Water ! If you are a Christian give me 
some water," groaned the sufferer. 

Our soldier boy could no longer resist the appeal. He 
felt that he could not be loved on earth or forgiven in 
heaven if he denied the petition of the dying rebel ; but 
before he granted it, he assured himself that the sufferer 
had no dangerous weapon in his possession. The man 
was deadly pale ; one of his arms hung useless by his 
side ; and he was covered with blood. He was a terri- 
ble-looking object, and Tom felt sick and faint as he 
gazed upon him. 

Placing his canteen at the lips of the poor wretch, he 
bade him drink. His frame quivered as he clutched the 
canteen with his remaining hand. The death damp was 
on his forehead ; but his eye lighted up Avith new lustre 
as he drank the grateful beverage. 

" God bless you ! God bless you ! " exclaimed he as 
he removed the canteen from his lips. " You are a Yan- 
kee," he added, as he fixed his glazing eyes upon Tom's 
uniform. " Are you wounded ? " 

" No ; I am worn out. I have eaten nothing since 
daylight, and not much then. I am used up." 



TO.\r SOMEBS IX THE ABMY. 143 

•• Put your hand in my haversack. There is some- 
thing there," gasped the dying man. 

Tom bent over him to comply with the invitation ; but, 
with a thrill of horror, he started back, as he listened to 
the death-rattle in the throat of the rebel, and saw his 
eyes fixed and lustreless in death. - It was an awful 
scene to the inexperienced youth. Though he had seen 
hundreds fall in the battle of that day, death had not 
seemed so ghastly and horrible to him as now, when he 
stood face to face with the grim monster. For a few 
moments he forgot his own toil-worn limbs, his craving 
hunger, and his aching head. 

He gazed upon the silent form before him, which had 
ceased to suffer, and he felt thankful that he had been 
able to mitigate even a single pang of the dying rebel. 
But not long could he gaze, awe-struck, at the ghastly 
spectacle before him, for he had a life to save. The 
words of the suflferer — his last words — offering him 
the contents of his haversack recurred to him ; but 
Tom's sensibilities recoiled at the thought of eating 
bread taken from the body of a dead man, and he 
turned away. 

•• Why shouldn't I take it?" said he to himself. " It 
may save my life. With rest and food, I may escape. 
Pooh ! I'll not be a fool ! " 

Bending over the dead man, he resolutely cut the hav- 
ersack from his body, and then returned to the log whose 



144 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

friendly shelter had screened him from the eyes of the rebel 
horsemen. Seating himself upon the ground, he com- 
moBced exploring the haversack. It contained two '• ash- 
cakes," a slice of bacon, and a small bottle. Tom's eyes 
glowed with delight as he gazed upon this rich feast, and, 
without w^aiting to say grace or consider the circum- 
stances under which he obtained the materials for his 
feast, he began to eat. Ash-cake was a new institution 
to him. It was an Indian cake baked in the ashes, 
probably at the camp-fires of the rebels at Manassas. It 
tasted very much like his mother's johnny-cake, only he 
missed the fresh butter wdth w^hich he had been^wont to 
cover the article at home. 

The soldier boy ate the bacon, and ate both of the 
cakes, though each of the latter was about the size of a 
saucer. It was a large meal, even for a growing boy ; 
but every mouthful seemed to put a new sinew into his 
frame. While he "was eating, he drew the cork from the 
bottle. It contained whiskey. Tom had heard that 
there was virtue in whiskey ; that it Avas invigorating to 
a tired man, and he w^as tempted, under these extremely 
trying circumstances, to experiment upon the beverage. 
He would certainly have been excusable if he had done 
so ; but our hero had a kind of horror of the article, 
which would not let him even taste it. He was afraid 
that he should acquire a habit which would go with him 
through life, and make him what Hapgood and others 



TOM SOMLRS IX THE ABMY. 145 

whom he knew were — u torment to themselves, and a 
nuisance to their fellow-beings. Putting the cork in the 
bottle, he threw it upon the ground. 

With his renewed strength came renewed hope; but 
lie did not deem it prudent to wander about the woods at 
present : therefore he threw himself on the ground under 
the protecting log to obtain the repose he so much needed. 

He thought of home, and wondered whether he should 
ever see the cottage of his parents again ; and while he 
was thinking, overcome by the excitement and fatigue of 
the day, he dropped asleep. It was strange that he could 
do so, consciously environed by so many perils ; but he 
had in a measure become callous to danger, and he slept 
long and deep. 

When he awoke, it was dark and silent around him. 
The roar of battle had ceased, and the calm of death 
seemed to have settled upon the scene of strife. Tom's 
bones still ached ; but he was wonderfully refreshed by 
the nap he had taken. He had no idea of the time, and 
could not tell whether he had slept one hour or six. He 
was strong enough to walk now, and the first considera- 
tion was to escape from the vicinity of the rebel camps ; 
but he had no conception of where he was, or what 
direction would lead him to the Federal lines. 

A kind Providence had w^atched over him thus far ; 
had spared his life in the fury of battle ; had fed him in 
the wilderness, like Elijah of old ; and restored his wasted 
13 



146 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

strength. He could only trust to Providence for guid- 
ance, and, using his best judgment in choosing the direc- 
tion, he entered upon the difficult task of finding his way- 
out of the woods. He had walked an hour or more, 
when, suddenly, three men sprung up in the path before 
him. 

" Halt ! Who comes there?" demanded one of them. 

" Friend ! " replied Tom ; though he had a great many 
doubts in regard to the truth of his assertion. 

" Advance, friend, and give the countersign ! " 

But the soldier boy had no countersign to give. He 
had fallen upon a rebel picket post, and was made a 
prisoner. 



TOM SO. VERS IX THE ARXY. 



U7 



CHAPTER Xy. 



TOM A PRISONER. 



/ >^^ OM could not exactly understand how he hap- 
/ 1 pened to be made a prisoner. He had cer- 
VJ/ tainly moved with extreme caution, and he 
wondered that he had not received some intimation of 
the presence of the enemy before it was too late to 
retreat. But, as we have before hinted, Tom was a 
philosopher ; and he did not despair even under the 
present reverse of circumstances, though he was greatly 
disconcerted. 

*' TMio are you?" demanded one of the rebel sol- 
diers, when they had duly possessed his body, which, 
liowever, was not a very chivalrous adventure, for the 
prisoner was unarmed, his gun having been thrown 
away by the friendly Zouave, after he had so terribly 
avenged his murdered companion. 

" I'm a soldier," replied Tom, greatly perplexed by 
the trials of his difficult situation. 

As yet he did not know whether he had fallen into 
the hands of friend or foe, for the night was cloudy 



148 ^"S'J? SOLDIER BOY, OR 

apd dark, and he could not see what uniform the 
pickets "vvore. 

" ^Miat do you belong to?" demanded the spokes- 
man of the picket trio. 

" I belong to the army," answered Tom, with adr 
mirable simplicity. 

Our soldier boy, as the reader already knows, had 
been Avell " brought up." He had been taught to tell 
the truth at all times ; and he did so on the present 
occasion, very much to the confusion, no doubt, of the 
rebel soldiers, who had not been brought up under 
the droppings of the sanctuary in a Xcav England 
villa £re. 

" B'long to the army — do you?" repeated Secesh, 
who must have thought Tom a very candid person. 

" Yes, sir, I belong to the army," added the prisoner. 

" I s'pose you won't mind telling us Avhat army 
you belong to, 'cause it mought make a difference in 
our calculations," added the spokesman. 

Tom did not know but that it might make some 
difference in his calculations, and for this reason he 
was exceedingly unwilling to commit himself before 
he ascertained upon which side his questioners be- 
longed. 

"Can you tell me Avhere I am?" asked Tom, re- 
solved to use a little strategy in obtaining the desired 
information. 



TOM SOMEJiS IX THE ABMY. 149 

'' May be I can," replied the picket. 

-Will you do so?" 

" Sartin, stranger — you are in the woods," added 
Secesh ; Avhereat his companions indulged in a whole- 
some chuckle, which assured Tom that they were hu- 
man, and his hopes rose accordingly. 

"Thank you^" replied Tom, with infinite good nature. 

" You say you belong to the army, and I say you 
are in the woods," said the soldier, repeating the 
double postulate, so that the essence of the joke should 
by no possibility fail to penetrate the cerebellum of 
his auditor. 

Tom was perfectly willing to acknowledge that he 
was in the woods, both actually and metaphorically, 
and he was very much disturbed to know how he should 
get out of the woods — a problem which has puzzled 
wiser heads than his, even in less perplexing emer- 
gencies. He was fearful that, if he declared himself 
to be a Union soldier, he should share the fate of 
others whom he had seen coolly bayoneted on that 
eventful day. 

'* Now, stranger, s'pose you tell me Avhat army you 
b'long to ; then I can tell you where you are," con- 
tinued the soldier. 

"What do you belong to?" asked Tom, though he 
did not put the question very confidently. 

" I belong to the army ; " and the two other pick- 
13* 



^50 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

ets honored the reply with another chuckle. " You 
can't fool old Alabammy." 

There was no further need of fooling *' Old Ala- 
bammy," for the worthy old gentleman, symbolically 
represented by the rebel soldier, had kindly done it 
himself; and Tom then realized that he was in the 
hands of the enemy. It is true, the balance of the 
picket trio laughed heartily at the unfortunate slip of 
the tongue made by their companion ; but Tom was in 
no condition to relish the joke, or he might perhaps 
have insinuated himself into the good gi-aces of the 
jolly Secesh by repeating Pat's mysterious problem — 
" Tell me how many cheeses there are in the bag, 
and I'll give ye the whole five ; " for, though this is 
an old joke in the civilized parts of the world, it is 
not at all probable that it had been perpetrated in the 
benighted reo^ions of Secessia. 

The announcement of the fact that he was in the 
hands of the foe, as we have before intimated, left 
Tom in no condition to give or take a joke. His 
heart was suddenly deprived of some portion of its 
ordinary gravity, and rose up to the vicinity of his 
throat. He drew sundry deep and long breaths, in- 
dicative of his alarm ; for thougli Tom was a brave 
boy, — as these pages have ah*eady demonstrated, — he 
had a terrible idea of the tender mercies of the rebels. 
His first impulse was to break away from his captors. 



TOM aOMHIiS jy TH£ AHAfY. ^51 

and ruu the risk of beiug overiukeu by a trio of 
musket balls ; for death from the quick action of a 
bullet seemed preferable to the fate which his fears 
conjured up if he should be taken by the bloodthirsty 
rebels. But the chances were too decidedly against 
him, and he reluctantly brought his mind to the con- 
dition of philosophical submission. 

"Well, stranger, which army do you b'long to?" 
said the spokesman of the picket trio, when he had 
fully recovered his self-possession. 

•' I belong to the United States army," replied Tom, 
desperately. 

'' That means the Yankee army, I s'pose." 

" Yes, sir ; you call it by that name." 

'* Then you are my prisoner." 

'• I surrender because I can't help myself." 

*' Hev you nary toothpick or bone-cracker in your 
pockets?" 

" Any what? " replied Tom, whose dictionary seemed 
to be at fault. 

" Nary pistol, knife, or any thing of that sort ? " 

" Nothing but my jackknife." 

" Any plunder? " 

'' TYe piled up our knapsacks and haversacks before 
we went into the fight. Here is my canteen half 
full of water ; I gave the other half to one of your 
soldiers, when he was dying of his wounds." 



J52 THE 6CLD1ER BOY, OH 

"Did ye?" 

" Now will you be kind enough to tell me where 
I am?" 

^' You are inside the lines of our army, about three 
miles below Centreville," replied one of the pickets. 

"What time is it?" 
* " Nigh upon nine o'clock, I should say. One of 
you fellers must take this prisoner to head-quarters," 
he continued, speaking to his companions. 

Tom was very agreeably surprised to find that his 
captors did not propose to hang, shoot, or bayonet 
him ; and the Southern Confederacy rose a few degrees 
in his estimation. Certainly the men who had taken 
him were not fiends, and he began to hope that his 
situation as a prisoner would not be so terrible as his 
fancy had pictured it. 

One of the men was deputed to conduct him to the 
officer of the guard ; and he walked along by the side 
of the soldier through the woods, in the direction from 
which he had just come. 

"Can you tell me how the battle went at last?" 
asked Tom, as they pursued theu' way through the 
forest. 

" We whipped you all to pieces. Your army hasn't 
done running yet. We shall take Washington to-mor- 
row, and Jeff Davis will be in the White House be- 
fore the week is out." 



TOM SOAfJ-JJiS y.V y/ZA' ARMY. I53 

'* Have you taken many prisoners?" asked Tom, 
who could not dispute the position of the rebel 
soldier. 

"• About fifty thousand, I b'lieve," replied Secesh, 
with refreshing confidence. 

Tom indulged in a low whistle, but his companion 
could not tell whether it was an expression of regret 
or incredulity. If they had stood on an equality, Tom 
would probably have suggested that the figures should 
be interpreted ''over the left" — an idios}mcrasy in 
language which he had imported from Pinchbrook, 
but which may not be wholly unintelligible to our 
young readers. 

From his conductor he obtained some particulars 
of the battle and its result, which were afterwards 
more fully set forth in General Beauregard's ofificial 
report, and which would have read better on the pages 
of Sinbad the Sailor than in the folios of a military 
despatch. But the Secesh soldier's " facts and figures " 
were comforting to Tom, who still had a stron^-er in- 
tercst in the condition of the good cause, after the 
heavy blow it had received, than he had in his own 
individual welfare. Like too heavy a dose of poison, 
the magnitude of the stories refuted and defeated 
them. The soldier boy listened in respectful silence, 
but he was utterly incredulous. It was even pos- 
sible that the Union army had won a victory, af- 



154 ^^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

ter all, though he was not very sanguine on this 
point. 

He was ultimately conducted to the head-quarters 
of the regiment to which his captors belonged, and 
then turned into a lot with about twenty others, who 
were strongly guarded. Tom joined his companions 
in misery, most of M'hom, Avorn out by the fatigues 
of the day, were sleeping soundly upon the ground. 
Only two or three of them were awake ; but these 
were strangers to him, and he was unable to obtain 
any information from them concerning any of his 
friends in the regiment. 

It began to rain shortly after Tom joined his fel- 
low-prisoners ; but there was no shelter for them. 
They had neither blankets nor great-coats, yet this 
did not seem to disturb them. Our soldier boy threw 
himself upon the ground, but the nap he had taken 
under the side of the log set his eyes wide open for 
a time. He could only think of home, his mother and 
sisters, and John, by this time snugly coiled away in 
the bed where he had been w^ont to dream of the 
glories of war. He had *cast his fears to the winds 
when he found that his captors did not intend to butcher 
him, and he could not help thinking that his situa- 
tion might have been worse. 

Those with whom he had spoken told him they had 
eaten nothing since morning ; and in this respect he was 



TOyr SOAfERS IX THE A R .\f Y I55 

far better off than his companions were. The only 
thin-T^ that troubled him was the thoudit of the an- 
crnish ■which liis mother must suffer, when she heard 
of the battle. "When tlie regiment should be gathered 
together again, he would be reported as '' missing," 
and this would be a terrible word to her, for it meant 
killed, Avounded, or a prisoner. If he oould only assure 
her that he still lived and was uninjured, he would 
have been happy — happy in spite of the drenching 
rain — happy in spite of the prospective dungeon, and 
the hardships to which he might be subjected. He 
felt that he had faithfully performed his duty. When 
he began to be drowsy, he settled himself in the most 
comfortable place he could find . on the ground, and 
thanked God that he had been spared his life through 
the perils of that awful day, and more fervently that he 
had been enabled to do his duty like a good soldier ; 
and then, with the Giver of all Good, the Fountain 
of all Mercy, in his heart, he fell asleep. 

He slept several hours, and waked up to find him- 
self as thoroughly soaked as though he had just come 
out of the river. There was no help for it, and it 
was no use to grumble. After walking to and fro for 
Italf an hour, he lay down again, and, between sleep- 
ing and waking, finished the night ; uncomfortably, it 
is true, and yet without any positive suffering. There 
were hundreds, if aot thousands, who were enduring 



156 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

the agony of fearful -svounds through that long night ; 
•vvho "were lying alone and uncared for where they had 
fallen in the deadly strife ; "vvho were dying every hour, 
away from their homes and friends, and Avith no kind 
hand to minister to their necessities, with no sweet 
voice of a loved one to smooth their passage do^vn to 
the dark, cold grave. 

Tom thought of these, for he had seen them in his 
path, and he felt that he had no cause to complain — 
that he ought to be cheerful and happy. At the daAvn 
of the day he and his fellow-prisoners were marched to 
Sudley Church, where they were to be confined until they 
could be sent to Richmond. Here Tom found a cap- 
tain belonging to his regiment ; but neither could give 
any information to the other in regard to their friends. 

" I shall not stay here long," said the captain, in a 
whisper, when they had become better acquainted. " I 
intend to leave to-night." 

"Can't I go with youV" asked Tom. 

" You can go, but we had better not go together." 

Tom thought for a while, and determined upon an 
attempt to escape. During the day, he carefully exam- 
amined the premises, and decided upon his mode of 
operations. 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 157 



CHAPTER XVI. 

A PERPLEXING QUESTION. 

/^^^OM SOMERS, who had had some experience, in 
/I a small way, in the kind of business now before 
^<^jy him, was filled with hope when he had adopted 
his plan. He was a resolute and energetic young man, 
and to resolve upon any thing was almost equivalent to 
doing it. There were a great many difiieulties in the 
way of success, it is true ; but, nothing daunted by these, 
he determined to persevere. The church in which the 
prisoners were confined M^as carefully guarded on the 
exterior, and the sentinels carried loaded muskets in 
their hands — so that the afiair before him was more 
hazardous and trying than that of escaping from the 
attic chamber of Squire Pemberton's house in Pinch- 
brook. 

If he succeeded in making his way out of the church 
and eluding the guard which surrounded it, even then 
his trials would only have commenced ; for there were 
many miles of hostile country between him and Wash- 
inffton, wliithcr lie supposed the Federal army had been 
14 



158 r^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

driven. The captain who intended to escape at the same 
time gave him some information which would be of ser- 
vice to him in finding his way to the Potomac. He 
charged him particularly to follow the railroad, which 
would conduct him to Alexandria, in the vicinity of 
which he would probably find the regiment. 

At dark the prisoners disposed of themselves as well 
as they could for the night. Tom saw the captain go 
through all the forms of preparing for a comfortable 
lodging, and he did the same himself. For hours he lay 
ruminating upon his purpose. When it was midnight, 
he thought it was time for him to commence the enter- 
prise. He worked himself along on the floor till he 
reached the principal entrance. The door was open, as 
it had been all day, to enable the guards to obtain an 
occasional view of the prisoners. 

The sentinels were evidently in no condition to dis- 
charge their duties with fidelity, for they had been 
marching and fighting for two or three days, and were 
nearly exhausted. Leaning against the door, Tom dis- 
covered a musket, which the careless guard had left 
there. On the floor in the entry lay two rebel soldiers. 
They had stretched themselves across the threshold of 
the door, so that no one could pass in or out of the 
church without stepping over them. 

Tom carefully rose from his recumbent posture, and 
took possession of the musket. Then, with the utmost 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 159 

prudence, he stepped over the bodies of the sleeping sol- 
diers ; but with all his circumspection, he could not pre- 
vent one of his shoes from squeaking a little, and it 
required only a particle of noise to rouse the guard. 

" Who goes there? " demanded one of them, springing 
to his feet. 

'' Is this the way you do your duty?" replied Tom, as 
sternly as though he had been a brigadier general. 

'•Who are you?" said the soldier, apparently im- 
pressed by the words and the tones of him who reproved 
his neglect. 

'• Who am I, you sleepy scum ! I'll let you know 
who I am in about ten minutes," added Tom, as he 
passed out at the front door of the church. 

"Give me back my gun — won't you?" pleaded the 
confused sentinel. 

" I'll give it back to you at the court-martial which 
will sit on your case to-morrow." 

"'Who goes there?" challeno-ed one of the sentinels 
on the outside. 

'• "SMio goes there ! " added Tom, in a sneering tone. 
'' Have you waked up ? Where -were you five minutes 
ago, when I passed this post ? There won't be a prisoner 
left here by morning. The long roll wjouldn't wake up 
such a stupid set of fellows." 

'' Stop, sir I " said the astonished sentinel. *' You 
can't pass this line." 



160 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" Can't I, you stupid fool? I have passed it while you 
were asleep." 

'' I haven't been asleep." 

"Where have you been, then?" demanded Tom with 
terrible energy. 

" Been here, sir." 

" I'll court-martial the whole of you ! " 

" Stop, sir, or I'll fire at you ! " added the soldier, as 
Tom moved on. 

" Fire at me ! Fire, if you dare, and I'll rid the 
army of one unfaithful man on the spot ! " said the sol- 
dier boy, as he raised the musket to his shoulder. 

" Don't fire, you fool ! " interposed one of the men 
whom Tom had roused from his slumbers in the entry. 
" Don't you see he is an officer?" 

" I'll teach you how to perform your duty ! " added 
Tom, as he walked aAvay. 

. The soldier, governed by the advice of his companion, 
offered no further objection to the departure of Tom ; 
and he moved off as coolly as though he had just been 
regularly relieved from guard duty. He had walked 
but a short distance before he discovered the camp of a 
regiment or brigade, which, of course, it was necessary 
for him to avoid. Leaving the road, he jumped over the 
fence into a field — his first object being to place a re- 
spectful distance between himself and the enemy. 

The scene through which he had just passed, though he 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. jg^ 

had preserved the appearance of coolness and self-posses- 
sion, had been exceedingly trying to his nerves ; and 
■when tlie moment of pressing danger had passed, he 
fomul his heart up in his throat, and his strength almost 
wasted by the excitement. He felt as one feels when he 
has just escaped a peril which menaced him with instant 
death. It was singular that the soldier had not fired, 
but the fact that he did not convinced Tom that there is 
an amazing power in impudence. 

For half an hour, he pursued his way with haste and 
diligence, but without knowing where he was going — 
whether he was movin<T toward Richmond or Washlnjr- 
ton. As the musket which he had taken from the 
church was not only an encumbrance, but might betray 
him, he threw it away, though, thinking some means of 
defence might be useful, he retained the bayonet, and 
thrust it in his belt. Thus relieved of his burden, he 
Avalked till he came to a road. As there was no appear- 
ance of an enemy in any direction, he followed this road 
for some time, and finally it brought him to the object of 
his search — the railroad. 

But then came up the most perplexing question he 
had yet been called upon to decide. To that railroad, as 
to all others, there were, unfortunately, two ends — one 
of which lay within the Federal lines, and the other 
within the rebel lines. If Tom had been an astronomer, 
which he was not, the night was too cloudy to enable 
1 1» 



162 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

him to consult the stars ; besides, some railroads are so 
abominably crooked that the heavenly orbs "VN-^ould hardly 
Rave been safe pilots. He did not know which was north, 
nor which was south, and to go the wrong way would be 
to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. 

Tom sat down by the side of the road, and tried to 
settle the difficult question ; but the more he thought, the 
more perplexed he became — which shows the folly of 
attempting to reason when there are no premises to 
reason from. He Tvas, no doubt, an excellent logician ; 
but bricks cannot be made without straw. 

" Which way shall I go?" said Tom to himself, as he 
stood up and peered first one Avay and then the other 
through the gloom of the night. 

But he could not see WashiuGfton in one direction, nor 
Richmond in the other, and he had not a simple land- 
mark to sruide him in cominsr to a decision. 

" I'll toss up ! " exclaimed he, desperately, as he took 
off his cap and threw it up into the air. " Right side 
up, this way — wrong side, that way ; and may the fates 
or the angels turn it in the proper way." 

He stooped down to pick up the cap, and ascertain 
which way it had come doAATi. It came down risrht side 
up, and Tom immediately started off in the direction 
indicated. Althou2:h he had no confidence in the arbit- 
rament of the cap, he felt relieved to find the question 
disposed of even in this doubtful manner. 



TO.V SOMERS IX THE AIt.\fr. 1^,3 

He kept both eyes wide open as he advanced, for if he 
had taken the wrong way a few miles of travel would 
bring him to the main camp of the rebels in tlic vicinity 
of Manassas Junction. He pursued his lonely journey 
for some time without impediment, and without dis- 
covering any camp, either large or small. He gathered 
new confidence as "he proceeded. After he had walked 
two or three hours upon the railroad, he thought 
it was about time for Fairfax station to heave in sisrht, 
if he had chosen the right way — or for the rebel camps 
to appear if he had chosen the wrong way. With the 
first place he was familiar, as his regiment had encamped 
a short distance from it. 

He was sorely perplexed by the non-appearance of 
either of these expected points. The country began to 
look wilder and ^less familiar as he proceeded. Tlie 
region before him looked rugged and mountainous, and 
the dark outlines of several lofty peaks touched the sky 
in front of him. But with the feeling that every step he 
advanced placed a wider space between him and his ca])- 
tors at Sudley church, he continued on his way till tiie 
gray streaks of daylight appeared behind him. 

This phenomenon promised to afford him a gleam of 
intelligence upon which to found a correct solution of his 
course. Tom knew that, in the ordinary course of 
events, the sun ought lo rise in the east and set in the 
wp-f. If he was going to the north, the sun would rise 



164 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

on his right hand — if to the south, on his left hand. 
The streaks of light grew more and more distinct, and 
the clouds having rolled away, he satisfied himself where 
the sun would appear. Contrary to both wings of his 
theory, the place was neither on his right nor his left, for 
it was exactly behind him. But his position might be 
upon a bend of the railroad whose direction did not cor- 
respond with the general course of the road. For half 
an hour longer, therefore, he pursued his way, carefully 
noting every curve, until he was fully convinced that his 
course was nearer west than north. The sun rose pre- 
cisely as had been laid down in the programme, and 
precisely where he expected it would rise. 

It was clear enough that he was not moving to the 
^outh ; and, satisfied that he was in no danger of stum- 
bling upon Richmond, his courage increased, and he 
plodded on till he discovered a small village — or what 
would be called such in Virginia — though it contained 
only a few houses. * As he still Avore the uniform of the 
United States army, he did not deem it prudent to pass 
through this village ; besides, he was terribly perplexed 
to know what station it could be, and what had become 
of Fairfax. Though he must have passed through the 
country before, it did not look natural to him. 

Leaving the railroad, he took to the fields, intending 
to pass round tlie village, or conceal himself in the 
Avoods till he could go through it in safety. After walk- 



TOM SOAfEBS IX THE AJiAfV. \Qq 

ing diligently for so many hours, Tom was reminded 
that he had a stomach. His rations on the preceding day 
luul not been very bountiful, and he was positively hun- 
<TV. The orjran which had reminded him of its exist- 
ence was beginning to be imperative in its demands, and 
a new problem was presented for solution — one which 
had not before received the attention which it deserved. 

In the fields and forest he found a few berries ; but all 
he could tind made but a slight impression upon the neg- 
lected organ. If Tom was a philosopher, in his humble 
way, he was reasonable enough to admit that a man 
could not live without eating. At this point, therefore, 
the question of rations became a serious and solemn 
problem : and the longer it remained unsolved the more 
difficult and harassing it became. 

After he had rested -all the forenoon in a secluded spot, 
without interruption from man or beast ^ he decided to 
settle this question of rations once for all. If impudence 
had enabled him to pass a line of rebel sentries, it ought 
to furnish him with a dinner. Leaving his hiding place, 
he walked till he discovered a small house, at which he 
determined to apply for something to eat. 



I6t5 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XVII 



DINNER AND DANGER. 



/^^^HE house at which Tom applied for food 

■ I evidently did not belong to one of the " first 

^Jy families," or, if it did, the owner's fortunes 

had become sadly dilapidated. It was built of rough 

boards, with a huge stone chimney, which Avas erected on 

the outside of the structure. The humblest fisherman in 

Pinchbrook Harbor would have thought himself poorly 

accommodated in such a rough and rickety mansion. 

If Tom's case had not been growing desperate, he 

would not have run the risk of showing himself to any 

person on the "sacred soil" who was "to the manor 

born ; " but his stomach was becoming more and more 

imperative in its demands, and he knocked at the 

front door with many misgivings, especially as his 

exchequer contained less than a dollar of clear cash. 

The inmates were either very deaf or very much 

indisposed to see visitors ; and Tom, after he had knocked 

three times, began to think he had not run any great 

risk in coming to this house. As nobody replied to 



lliM .'<OMJ-:iiS /-V TII£ ARMY. [(37 

his summons, he took the liberty to open the door 
and enter. The establishment was even more primitive 
in its interior than its exterior, and the soldier boy could 
not help contrasting it with the neat houses of the poor 
in his native town. 

The front door opened into a large room without 
the formality of an entry or hall. In one corner of the 
apartment stood a bed. At one side was a large fire- 
place, in which half a dozen sticks of green wood were 
hissing and sizzling in a vain attempt to make the con- 
tents of an iron pot, which hung over them, reach the 
boiling point. No person was to be seen or heard on 
the premises, though the fire and the pot were sug- 
gestive of humanity at no great distance from the spot. 

A door on the back side of the room was open, and 
Tom looked out in search of the occupants of the house. 
In the garden he discovered the whole family, consisting 
of a man and his wife, a girl of twelve, and a boy of 
ten. Tlie man was digging in the garden, and the rest 
of the troupe seemed to be superintending the operation. 
The head of the family was altogether the most interest- 
ing person to Tom, for he must either shake hands or 
fight with him. He did not look like a giant in intel- 
lect, and he certainly was not a giant in stature. AVith 
the bayonet still in his belt, Tom was not afraid of him. 

" How are you, people ? " said Tom, as he walked 
towards the family, who with one accord suspended 



]^(38 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OK 

all operations, and gave their whole attention to the 
stranger. 

"How are ye, yourself?" replied the man, rather 
gruffly. 

'"Do you keep a hotel?" demanded Tom, who 
concealed the anxiety of his heart under a broad 
grin. " 

"I reckon I don't. What do you want here?" 

" I want something to eat," replied Tom, proceeding 
to business with commendable straightforwardness. 

" We hain't got nothin' here," said the man, sourly. 
" That ain't what ye come fur, nuther." 

" Must have something to eat. I'm not very par- 
ticular, but I must have something." 

" You can't hev it 'bout yere, no how. 'That ain't 
what ye come fur, nuther." 

" If you know what I came for better than I iio, 
suppose you tell me what it is," added Tom, who was 
.a little mystified by the manner of the man. 

" You air one of them soger fellers, and you want 
me to 'list ; but I tell yer, ye can't do nothin' of the 
sort. I'll be dosr derned if I'll "-o." 

" I don't want you to go," protested Tom. " I'm 
half starved and all I want is something to eat." 

" Yer don't reelly mean so." 

"Yes, I do." 

" Where d' yer come from ? " 



TOM SO.\f,EIiS IX THE ARMY. \{yj 

*' From dowir below hero. Have you seen any sol- 
diers pass through this place?" 

*' I reckon I hev ; but they hain't seen me ; and I 
reckon they won't see me very soon ; " and the man 
chuckled at his own cleverness in keeping clear of 
recruiting othcers. 

" I don't want you, and if you will give me some- 
thing to eat, you wdll get rid of me very quick." 

" Betsey, you kin feed the feller, if yer like, and 
I'll go over and see whar the hogs is." 

The man dropped his shovel, and began to move off 
towards the woods, probably to see whether Tom would 
attempt to detain him. At the same time "Betsey" 
led the way into the house, and the visitor paid no fur- 
ther attention to the master. 

" We hain't got much to eat in the house," said the 
woman, as they entered the room. " There's some 
biled pork and pertaters in the pot, and we've got some 
bread, sech as 'tis." 

'^ It will do me very well. I'm hungry, and can eat 
any thing," replied Tom. 

The woman placed a tin plate on the table, and 
dished up the contents of the kettle on the fire. She 
added some cold hoe cake to the dinner, and Tom 
tiiouLdit it was a feast fit for a king. He took a seat 
at the table, and made himself entirely at home. 
The food was coarse, but it was good, and the hungry 
15 



170 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

soldier boy did ample justice to the viands. The boy 
aud girl who had followed him into the house, stood, 
one on each side of him, watching him in speechless 
astonishment. 

"Where did yer come from?" asked the woman, 
when Tom had about half finished his dinner. 

" From down" below," replied Tom, rather indefi- 
nitely. 

"Don't b'long in these yere parts, I reckon?" 

"No, marm." 

" AVhere are ye gwine?" 

" Going to join my regiment." 

"Where is yer rigiment?" 

" That's more than I know, marm." 

"How long yer been travelling?" persisted the 
woman, who was perhaps afraid that the guest would 
eat up the whole of the family's dinner, if she did 
not make some kind of a feint to attract his attention. 

" Only a few days, marm." 

" Kin yer till me what all tliet noise was about day 
'fore yesterday ? " 

" Yes, marm ; it was a big battle." 

"Gracious me! Yer don't say so ! Whar was it?" 

" Down below Centre ville." 

"Which beat?" 

" The Confederates drove the Yankees off the field," 
answered Tom, suspending business long enough to 



TOM SOMLJiS ly TUE ARMY. lyj 

glauce at the womau, aud see how the iutelligeuce 
was received. 

'' Yer dou't ! Thcu they wou't want my old man." 

Tom was uuable to determine whether his hostess 
was Union or " Seeesh " from her words or her looks. 
He could not inform her whether they would want 
her old man or not. When he had eaten all he could, 
he proposed like an honest youth to pay for what he 
had eaten ; but Betsey had the true idea of southern 
hospitality, and refused to receive money for the food 
eaten beneath her roof. She had a loaf of coarse 
bread, however, in which she permitted Tom to invest 
the sum of six cents. 

" I am very much obliged to you, marm ; and I 
shall be glad to do as much for you, any time," said 
Tom, as he went towards the front door. 

As he was about to open it, his ears were startled 
by an imperative knock on the outside. He stepped 
back to one of the two windows on the front of the 
house, where he discovered an officer and two " gray- 
back" soldiers. The ghost of his grandmother would 
not have been half so appalling a sight, and he re- 
treated to the back door with a very undignified 
haste. 

" Gracious me ! " exclaimed the lady of the house. 
" Who kin thet be ? " 

" An officer and two soldiers," replied Tom, hastily. 



172 * THE SOLDI EH BOY, OH 

'' Then they are arter my old mao ! " said she, 
dropping into the only chair the room contained. 

"Don't say I'm here, marm, and I'll help your 
husband, if they catch him. Tell them he has gone 
off to be absent a week." 

" He'd be absent more'n thet if he' knowed them 
fellers was arter him." 

The woman moved towards the front door, and 
Tom through the back door ; but as he was about to 
pass into the garden, he caught a glimpse of one of 
the graybacks in the rear of the house. For a mo- 
ment his case seemed to be hopeless f but he retreated 
into the room again, just as the woman opened the 
front door to admit the officer. He could not escape 
from the house, and his only resource was to secure 
a hiding place within its walls. There were only two 
which seemed to be available ; one of these Avas the 
bed, and the other the chimney. If any search was 
made, of course the soldiers would explore the bed 
first ; and the chimney seemed the most practicable. 

There was no time for consideration, for the woman 
had akeady opened the door, and was answering the 
questions of the Confederate officer ; so Tom sprang 
into the fireplace, and, . by the aid of the projecting 
stones, climbed up to a secure position. The chimney 
was large enough to accommodate half a dozen boys 
of Tom's size. The fire had gone out, and though 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 173 

the stones were rather u'arm in the iirepUice, he was 
uot uncomfortable. 

The fears of the hidy of the house proved to be 
well grounded this time, for the party had actually come 
in search of her " old man ; " and what was more, the 
ollicer 'announced his intention not to leave without 
liini. 

" He's gone away fur a week, and he won't be 
lium before the fust of August, no how," said the 
woman resolutely, and adopting Tom's suggestion to 
the letter. 

" All nonsense, woman ! He is about here, some- 
where, and we will find him." 

*• You may, if you kin." 

The officer then went out at the back door, as Tom 
judged by his footsteps, and the woman asked one of 
the' children what had become of the other soldier 
man. The boy said he was up chimney. She then 
told them not to tell the officer where he Avas. 

'• What shell I do?" said she, placing herself before 
the fireplace. 

'• Don't be alarmed. He will keep out of their way," 
replied Tom. 

" But the officer man said he was gwine to stay 
'bout yere till he gits hum," moaned the poor wo- 
man. 

'* He will not do any such thing. Your husband 
15* 



174 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

has the woods before him, and he won't let them catch 
him." 

" Deary me ! I'm 'feared they will." 

"Where are they now?" 

" They're gone out to look for him." 

The officer and his men returned in a few moments, 
having satisfied themselves that the proprietor of the 
place was not oh the premises. 

" Now we'll search the house," said the officer ; 
and Tom heard them walking about in the room. 

Of course the militia man could not be found, and 
the officer used some very unbecomingr lanjniajre to 
express his disapprobation of the skulker, as he called 
him. 

" Woman, if you don't tell me where your husband 
is, I'll have you arrested," said he, angrily. 

"' I don't know myself. He's gone off over the 
mountains to git some things. Thet's all I know about 
it, and if yer want to arrest me, yer kin." 

But the officer concluded that she would be a poor 
substitute for an able bodied man, and he compromised 
the matter by leaving one of the privates, instructing 
him not to let the woman or the children leave the 
house, and to remain till the skulker returned. 

This was not very pleasant information for Tom, 
who perceived that he was likely to be shut up in the 
chimney for the rest of the day, and perhaps be smoked 



70 J/ SO .VERS ly THE ARMY. 175 

or roasted out nt supper time. Climbing up to the 
top of his pri>^on house, he looked over, and saw the 
otHcer and one private disappear in the woods which 
lay between the house and the railroad. Looking over 
the other way, he saw the coveted recruit approaching 
the house from beyond the garden. 



176 ^^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



THE REBEL SOLDIER. 



/^5^0M SOMERS was not very well satisfied with 
/ 1 his situation, for the soldier who had been 
^J^ left in possession of the house was armed 
with a musket, and the prospect of escaping before 
night was not very flattering. The patriarch of the 
family, who had such a horror of recruiting officers, was 
approaching, and in a few moments there would be an 
exciting scene in the vicinity. 

Independent of his promise naade to the woman to 
help her husband, if she would not betray him, Tom 
deemed it his duty to prevent the so-called Confederate 
States of America from obtainino^ even a sin^^le additional 
recruit for the armies of rebellion and treason. Without 
having any personal feeling in the matter, therefore, 
he was disposed to do all he could to assist his host in 
" avoiding the draft." What would have been treason 
in New England was loyalty in Virginia. 

The unfortunate subject of the Virginia militia law 
was unconsciously approaching the trap which had been 



TOAf SOAfERS IX THE AH.VY. \-- 

set for him. He had, no doubt, come to the condusion, 
by this time, that the hungry soldier boy was not a 
recruiting othcer, or even the corporal of a guard sent 
to apprehend him, and he was returning with confi- 
dence to partake of his noonday meal. Tom, fn#m his 
perch at the top of the chimney, watched him as he 
ambled along over the rough path with his eyes fixed 
upon the ground. There was something rather exciting 
in the situation of affairs, and he soon found himself 
deeply interested in the issue. 

The unhappy citizen owing service to the Confederate 
States climbed over the zigzag fence that enclosed his 
garden, and continued to approach the rude dwelling 
which the law had defined to be his castle. Tom did not 
dare to speak in tones loud enough to be heard by the 
innocent victim of the officer's conspiracy, for they 
would have betrayed his presence to the enemy. Sit- 
ting upon the top stones of the chimney, he gesticulated 
violently, hoping to attract his attention ; but the man 
did not look up, and consequently could uot see the 
signals. 

He had approached within ten rods of the back door 
of the house, when Tom, fearing his footsteps might 
attract the attention of the soldier, ventured to «]rive a 
low whistle. As this wai not heeded, he repeated the 
signal when the man was within two or three rods 
of the house ; but even this was not noticed, and 



178 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

throwing his head forward, so that the sound of his 
voice should not descend the chimney, he spoke. 

" HaUoo ! " said he. 

The man suddenly stopped, and looked up. Tom 
made signals with his hands for him to leave ; but 
this mute language appeared not to be intelligible to 
him. 

" Consarn yer picter, what are yer doin' up thar?'* 
said the proprietor of the castle, in tones which seemed 
to Tom as loud as the roar of the cannon at Bull 
Run. 

" Hush ! Hush ! " replied Tom, gesticulating with 
all his might, and using all his ingenuity to invent 
signs that Avould convey to the militiaman the idea 
that he Avas in imminent danger. 

"You be scotched!" snarled the man. "What are 
yer doin' ? What ails yer ? " 

" They are after you ! " added Tom, in a hoarse 
whisper. 

The fellow most provokingly refused to hear him, 
and Tom thought his skull was amazingly thick, and 
his perceptions amazingly blunt. 

" Xow you come down from thar," said he, as he 
picked up a couple of stones. " You act like a monkey, 
and I s'pose yer be one. Now make tracks down 
that chimley." 

But instead of doing this, Tom retreated into his 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. j 79 

shell, as a snail does when the moment of peril arrives. 
The soldier in the house was not deaf; and if he had 
been, he could hardly have helped hearing the stentorian 
tones of his victim. Instead of going out the back 
door, like a sensible man, he passed out at the front 
door, and in a moment more Tom heard his voice 
just beneath him. 

" Halt ! " shouted the soldier, as he brought his 
musket to his shoulder. " Your name is Joe Burnap." 

" That's my name, but I don't want nothin' o' you," 
replied the embarrassed militiaman, as he dropped the 
stones with which lie had intended to assault Tom's 
citadel. 

'' I want something of you," replied the soldier. 
" You must go with me. Advance, and give your- 
self up." 

"What fur?" asked poor Joe. 

" We want you for the army. You are an enrolled 
militiaman. You must go with me." 

'^I'U be dog derned if I do," answered Joe Bur- 
nap, desperately. 

" If you attempt to run away, I'll shoot you. You 
shall go with me, dead or alive, and hang me if I care 
much which." 

Joe evidently did care. He did not want to go with 
the soldier; his southern blood had not been fired by 
the WTongs of his country ; and he was equally averse 



IgO THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

to being shot in cold blood by this minion of the Con- 
federacy. His position Avas exceedingly embarrassing, 
for he could neither rim, fight, nor compromise. While 
matters were in this interesting and critical condition, 
Tom ventured to raise his head over the top of the 
chimney to obtain a better view of the belligerents. 
Joe stood where he had last seen him, and the sol- ♦ 
dier was standing within thi-ee feet of the foot of the 
chimney. 

" What ye going to do, Joe Burnap?" demanded the 
latter, after waiting a reasonable time for the other to 
make up his mind. 

''What am I gwine to do ? " repeated Joe, vacantly, 
as he glanced to the right and the left, apparently in the 
hope of obtaining some suggestion that would enable 
him to decide the momentous question. 

"' You needn't look round, Joe ; you've got to come 
or be shot. Just take your choice between the two, 
and don't waste my time." 

" I s'pose I can't help myself," replied Joe. " I'll 
tell ye what I'll do. I want to fix up things about hum 
a little, and I'll jine ye down to the Gap to-morrow." 

" No you don't, Joe Burnap I " said the soldier, 
shaking his head. 

" Then I'll jine ye to-night," suggested the strategist. 

" My orders are not to return without you, and I 
shall obey them." • 



TOM 6 0M£IiS ly THt: AHMY. Jgl 

Mrs. Buruap, wlio'had Ibllowed the soldier out of 
the house, stood behind him wringing her hands in an 
agony of grief. She protested with all a woman's 
eloquence against the proceedings of the soldier ; but 
her tears and her homely rhetoric were equally una- 
vailing. While the parties were confronting each 
other, the soldier dropped his piece, and listened to 
the arguments of Joe and his wife. When he turned 
for a moment to listen to the appeals of the woman, 
her husband improved the opportunity to commence a 
retreat. He moved off steadily for a few paces, when 
the enemy discovered the retrograde march, and again 
brouojht the ^irun to his shoulder. 

'" None of that, Joe," said the soldier, sternly. 
" Now march back again, or I'll shoot you ; " and 
Tom heard the click of the hammer as he cocked the 
piece. '' I've fooled long enough with you, and we'll 
end this business here. Come here, at once, or I'll 
put a bullet through your head." 

" Don't shoot ! Don't shoot ! For mercy's sake don't 
shoot," cried Mrs. Burnap. 

" I'll give him one minute to obey the order ; if he 
don't do it then, I'll fire. That's all I've got to say." 

Tom saw by the soldier's manner that he intended to 

execute his threat. He saw him brace up his nerves, 

and otherwise prepare himself for the bloody deed. 

But- Tom did not think that Joe had the stubbornness or 

16 • 



132 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

the courage, whichever it might be called, to rim the 
risk of dodging the bullet. He foresaw, too, that, if 
Joe gave himself up, his hiding place would be ex- 
posed, and the soldier ^vould have two prisoners to 
conduct back to his officer, instead of one. It was 
therefore high time for him to do something for his 
own protection, if not for that of his host. 

The necessity of defending himself, or of doing 
something to cover his retreat in an emergency, had 
been anticipated by Tom, and he had made such jDrep- 
arations as the circumstances would admit. His first, 
suggestion was to dart his bayonet down at the rebel 
soldier, as he had seen the fishermen of Pinchbrook 
harpoon a horse mackerel ; but the chances of hitting 
the mark were too uncertain to permit him to risk 
the loss of his only weapon, and he rejected the plan. 
He adopted the method, however, in a modified form, 
deciding to use the material of which the chimney 
was constructed, instead of the bayonet. The stones 
being laid in clay instead of mortar, were easily de- 
tached from the structure, and he had one in his 
hands ready for operations. 

" Come here, Joe Burnap, or you are a dead man," 
repeated the soldier, who evidently had ?ome scruples 
about depriving the infant Confederacy of an able- 
bodied recruit. 

Tom Somers, being unembarrassed by any such 



TOM SOMh'HS JX THE ARMY. ^^3 

scruples, lilted liiinselt' up t'roni his hidiug place, and 
hui'led the stone upon the soldier, fully expecting to hit 
him on the head, and dash out his brains. The best 
laid calculations often miscarry, and Tom's did in part, 
for the missile, instead of striking the soldier upon the 
head, hit him on the right arm. The musket was dis- 
charged, either by the blow or by the act of its owner, 
and fell out of his hands upon the ground. 

Now, a stone as big as a man's head, does not fall 
from the height of fifteen feet upon any vulnerable part 
of the human frame without inflicting some injury ; and 
in strict conformity with this doctrine of probabilities, the 
stone which Tom hurled down upon the rebel, and which 
struck him upon the right arm, entirely disabled that 
useful member. The hero of this achievement was sat- 
isfied with the result, though it had not realized his 
anticipations. Concluding that the time had arrived 
for an effective charge, he leaped out of the chimney 
upon the roof of the house, descended to l^e eaves, 
and then jumped down upon the ground. 

The soldier, in panic and pain, had not yet recov- 
ered from the surprise occasioned by this sudden and 
unexpected onslaught. Tom rushed up to him, and 
secured the musket before he had time to regain his 
self-possession. 

"Wko are you?" demanded the soldier, holding 
up the injured arm with his lefl hand. 



184 ^^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" Your most obedient servant," replied Tom, face- 
tiously, as he placed himself in the attitude of " charge 
bayonets." " Have you any dangerous weapons about 
your person ? " 

" Yes, I have," replied the soldier, resolutely, as he 
retreated a few steps, and attempted to thrust his left 
hand into the breast pocket of his coat. 

" Hands down ! " exclaimed Tom, pricking his arm 
with the bayonet attached to the musket. •• Here, Joe 
Burnap ! " 

" What d' yer want ? " replied the proprietor of the 
house, who was as completely "demoralized" by the 
scene as the rebel soldier himself. 

" Pat your hand into this man's pocket, and take 
out his pistol. If he resists, I'll punch him with this," 
added Tom, demonstrating the movement by a few 
vigorous thrusts with the bayonet. 

With some hesitation Joe took a revolver from the 
pocket of the soldier, and handed it to Tom. 

"' Examine all his pockets. Take out every thing he 
has in them," added Tom, cocking the revolver, and 
pointing it at the head of the prisoner. 

Joe took from the pockets of the rebel a quantity of 
pistol cartridges, a knife, some letters, and a wallet. 

"Who's this fur?" asked Joe, as he proceeded to 
open the wallet, and take therefrom a roll of Confed- 
erate " shin-plasters." 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 1^5 

'• Give it back to him." 

" But this is money." 

*' Money ! " sneered Tom. " A northern beggar 
\rouldn't thank you for all he could carry of it. Give 
it back to him, and every thing else except the 
cartridges." 

Joe reluctantly restored the wallet, the letters, and 
the knife, to the pockets from which he had taken 
them. Tom then directed him to secm-e the cartridge 
box of the soldier. 

*' You are my prisoner," said Tom ; " but I believe 
in treating prisoners well. You may go into the house, 
and if your arm is much hurt, Mrs. Burnap may do 
what she can to help you." 

The prisoner sullenly attended the woman into the 
house, and Tom followed as far as the front door. 

" Now, what am I g^vine to do ? " said Joe. " You've 
got me into a right smart scrape." 

'' I thought I had got you out of one," replied Tom. 
'•Do you intend to remain here?" 

'' Sartin not, now. I must clear." 

" So must I ; and we have no time to spare. Get 
what you can to eat, and come along." 

In ten minutes more, Tom and Joe Bumap were 
travelling towards the mountains. 
16* 



l^t) '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OH 



CHAPTER XIX. 



THROUGH THE GAP. 




OE BURXAP was perfectly familiar with the 
country, and Tom readily accepted him as a 
guide ; and, as they had a common object in 
view, neither had good cause for mistrusting the other. 
They walked, "without stopping to rest, till the sun set 
behind the mountains towards which they were trav- 
elling. 

" I reckon we needn't hurry now," said Joe, as he 
seated himself on a rock. 

" I don't think there is any danger of their catching 
us," replied Tom, as he seated himself beside his fellow- 
traveller. " Can you tell me^ where we are? " 

" I reckon I can. There ain't a foot of land in these 
yere parts that I hain't had my foot on. I've toted plun- 
der of all sorts through these woods more 'n ten thousand 
times." 

" Well, where are we?" asked Tom, whose doubts in 
regard to the locality had not yet been solved. 

In the pressure of more exciting matters, he had not 



TOM SOMEHS IX THE ARMY. IgJ 

attempted to explain why lie did uot come to Fairfax sta- 
tion while foll6wing the railroad. 

'• If we keep on 4 little while longer, I reckon we 
shall come to Thoroughfare Gap," answered Joe. 

"But where do you live? What town is your house 
in ? " asked Tom, who had never heard of Thoroughfare 
Gap before. 

" Haymarket is the nearest town to my house." 

" What railroad is that over there?" asked Tom, wdio 
was no nearer the solution of the question than he had 
been in the besinnin";. 

*' That's the Manassas Gap Railroad, I reckon," replied 
Joe, who seemed to be astonished at the ignorance of his 
companion. 

"Just so," added Tom, who now, for the first time, 
comprehended where he was. 

When he left Sudley church, he w^alked at random till 
he came to the railroad ; but he had struck the Manassas 
Gap Railroad instead of the main line, and it had led him 
away from the great body of the rebels, though it also 
conducted him away from Washington, where he desired 
to go. He was perplexed at the discovery, and at once 
began to debate the question whether it was advisable 
for him to proceed any farther in this direction. 

"I suppose you are a Union man — ain't you?" said 
Tom, after he had considered his situation for some 
time. 



138 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

Instead of answering this question, Joe Burnap raised 
his eyes from the ground, and fixed his gaze intently 
upon Tom. He stared at him for a moment in doubt 
and silence, and then resumed his former attitude. 

" You don't want to fight for the south," added Tom ; 
"so I suppose you don't believe in the Southern Con- 
federacy." 

" I don't want to fight for nuther of 'em," replied 
Joe, after a moment of further consideration. " If 
they'll only let me alone, I don't keer which beats." 

His position was certainly an independent one, and he 
appeared to be entirely impartial. The newspapers on 
either side would not have disturbed him. Patriotism — 
love of country — had not found a resting place in his 
soul. Tom had not, from the beginning, entertained a 
very high respect for the man ; but now he despised him, 
and thought that a rebel was a gentleman compared with 
such a character. How a man could live in the United 
States, and not feel an interest in the stirring events 
which were transpiring around him, was beyond his com- 
prehension. In one word, he so thoroughly despised 
Joe Burnap, that he resolved, at the first convenient 
opportunity, to get rid of him, for he did not feel safe in 
the company of such a person. 

"Now which side do you fight fur?" asked Joe, after 
a long period of silence. 

" For the Union side," replied Tom, promptly. 



TOAf SOMEES IN THE ARMY. I39 

" What are yer doin' here, then?" 

" I was in the battle below, and was taken prisoner. 
I got away, and I want to get to Washington." 

" I reckon this ain't the way to git thar," added Joe. 

" I doubt whether I can get there any other way." 

Just then, Tom would have given all the money he had 
in the world, and all that the government owed him, for 
a good map of Virginia — or even for a knowledge of 
geography which would have enabled him to find his way 
by the safest route to Washington. But he had been a 
diligent scholar in school, and had faithfully improved 
the limited opportunities which had been afforded him. 
His mind could recall the map of Virginia which he had 
studied in school, but the picture was too faint to be of 
much practical benefit to him. 

He had treasured up some information, derived from 
the newspapers, in regard to the Manassas Gap Railroad. 
He knew that it passed through the Blue Ridge, at the 
western base of which flowed the Shenandoah River : 
this emptied into the Potomac, which would certainly 
conduct him to Washinsrton. In folio win "r these two 
rivers, he should have to describe nearly a circle, which 
was not an encouraging fact to a boy on foot, with no 
resources, and in an enemy's country. 

If he returned by the way he came, the country was 
filled with rebel soldiers, and he could hardly expect to 
pass through their lines without being captured. Diffi- 



190 '^HE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

cult and dangerous as the route by the Shenandoah ap- 
peared, he decided to adopt it. 

Joe Burnap proposed that they should have supper, 
and opened the bag which he had filled with such eata- 
bles as he could hastily procure on leaving home. They 
ate a hearty meal, and then resumed their walk for 
another hour. 

" I reckon we'd better stop here," said Joe. " The 
Gap's only half a mile from here, and it's too arly in the 
night to go through thar yet. Thar's too many soldiers 
goin that way." 

" What time will you go through? " asked Tom. 

" Not afore midnight." 

" Then I'll turn in and take a nap. I didn't sleep any 
last night." 

" I'm agreed," replied Joe, who seemed to be indiffer- 
ent to every thing while he could keep out of the rebel 
army. 

Tom coiled up his body in the softest place he could 
find, and went to sleep. Exhausted by fatigue and the 
want of rest, he did not wake for many hours. He came 
to his senses Avith a start, and jumped upon his feet. 
For a moment, he could not think where he was ; but 
then came the recollection that he was in the country of 
his enemies — a wanderer and a fugitive. 

He looked about him in search of his travelling com- 
panion ; -but the fact that he could not see him in the 



TOM SOMERS IX THE AJtMY. 191 

night was no arorument that he "was not near him. He 
supposed Joe had chosen a place to sleep in the vicinity, 
and thinking he might not wake in season to pass 
through the Gap before daylight, he commenced a search 
for him. He beat about the place for half an hour, call- 
ing his companion by name ; but he could not see him, 
and no sound responded to the call but the echoes of his 
own voice. 

The independent Virginia farmer had anticipated 
Tom's intention to part company with him, and, by this 
time, perhaps, had passed through the Gap. The soldier 
boy was not 'quite ready to dispense with the services of 
his guide, inasmuch as he did not even know where the 
Gap was, or in what direction he must travel to reach it. 
AVhile he was debating his prospects, an enterprising 
rooster, in the distance, sounded his morning call. This 
assured him that he must be near some travelled road, 
and, taking the direction from the fowl, he resumed his 
journey. 

A short walk brought him out of the woods, and, in 
tlie gray light of the da-^vn, he discovered a house. As 
lie did not care to make <iny new acquaintances, he 
avoided the house, and continued his travels till he arrived 
at a road. As it was too early in the morning for peo- 
ple to be stirring, he ventured to follow the highway, and 
soon perceived 'an opening in the mountains, which he 
doubted not was the Gap. 



192 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

At sunrise he arrived at another house, which sud- 
denly came into view as he rounded a bend in the 
road. Near it were several negroes engaged in various 
occupations. As he passed the house, the negroes all 
suspended operations, and stared at him till he was out 
of sight. He soon reached the Gap ; but he had ad- 
vanced only a short distance before he discovered a bat- 
tery of light artillery stationed on a kind of bluff, and 
whose guns commanded the approaches in every direction. 

Deeming it prudent to reconnoitre before he proceeded 
any farther, he also ascertained that the Gap was pick- 
eted by rebel infantry. Of course it Avas impossible to 
pass through under these circumstances, and he again 
took to the woods. The scanty supply of food which he 
had purchased from Mrs. Barnap was now produced, and 
he made an economical breakfast. Finding a secluded 
place, he stretched himself upon the ground, and went 
to sleep. Though he slept till the sun had passed the 
meridian, the day was a very long one. 

"V^^len it was fairly dark, he resolved to attempt the 
passage of the Gap, for he was so tired of inaction that 
peril and hardship seemed preferable to doing nothing. 
Returning to the road, he pursued his way with due dili- 
gence through the narrowing defile of the mountains, till 
he suddenly came upon a sentinel, who challenged him. 
Before he started from his hiding place, Tom had care- 
fully loaded the revolver which he had taken from the 



TUM HOMERS IS THE AHMY. l<jj 

rebel soldier ; aud, as he walked along, he carried the 
weapon in his hand, ready for any enaergency that might 
require its Ui«e. 

The guard questioned him, and Tom replied that he 
had fought in the battle down below, and had a furlough 
to go home and see his father, who was very sick. 
'' Where's your furlough?" demanded the soldier. 
"•In my pocket." 
'■• Let me see it." 

" Here it is," replied Tom, producing an old letter 
which he happened to have in his pocket. 

The sentinel took the paper, unfolded it, and turned 
it over two or three times. It was too dark for him to 
road it if he had been able to do so, for all the rebel sol- 
diers are not gifted in this way. 

'• I reckon this won't do," he added, after patiently 
considering the matter. '^ Just you tote this paper up to 
the corporal thar, aud if he says it's all right, you kla 
go on." 

'• But I cun't stop to do all that. Here's my pass, and 
I want to go on. ,My fatlier may die before I get 
home. 

'' What regiment do you b'long to?" asked the guaid, 
who evidently did not wish to disoblige a fellow-soldier 
unnecessat*ily. 

'■'The Second Virginia," replied Tom, at a ven- 
ture, 

17 



194 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

"Where does your father live?" continued the sen- 
tinel. 

" Just beyond the Gap, if he's living at all.*' 

"^Tiattown?" 

Tom "svas nonplussed, for he did not know the name 
of a single place on the route before him ; and, of course, 
he did not dare to answer the question. 

" About five or six miles from here," he answered. 

"Is it Salem or White Plains? " demanded the soldier, 
whose cunninsr was inferior to his honestv. 

" TMiite Plains," added Tom, promptly accepting the 
suggestion. 

" What's the matter with your father? " 

" I don't know ; he was taken suddenly." 

" 'Pears like your uniform ain't exactly our sort," 
added the soldier. 

" Mine was all used up, and I got one on the battle- 
field." 

" I wouldn't do that. It's mean to rob a dead man of 
his clothes." 

''Couldn't help it — I Tras almost naked," replied 
Tom, who perfectly agreed Avith the rebel on this point. 

"You kin go on. Old Virginny," said the soldier, 
whose kindl}^ sympathy for Tom and his sick father was 
highly commendable. 

The soldier boy thanked the sentinel for his permis- 
sion, of which he immediately availed himself. Tom 



TOM VOMERS IX THE ARMY. ^95 

did not yet realize the force of the maxim that '' all is 
fair in war," . and his conscience gave a momentary 
twinge as he thought of the deception he had practised 
upon the honest and kind-hearted rebel. He was very 
thankful that he had not been compelled to put a bullet 
through his head ; but perhaps he was more thankful 
that the man had not been obliged to do him a similar 
favor. 

The fugitive walked, with an occasional rest, till day- 
light the next morning. He went through three or four 
small villages. After passing through the Gap, he had 
taken the railroad, as less likelv to lead him throunjh the 
more thickly settled parts of tlie country. Before him 
the mountains of the Blue Ridge rose like an impassable 
wall, and when the day dawned he was approaching 
Manassas Gap. He had walked twenty-five miles during 
the night, and prudence, as well as fatigue, required him 
to seek a place of rest. 



l^Q THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XX. 



DOWN THE SHENANDOAH. 



^^ N that wild mountain region, Tom had no 
difficulty in finding a secluded spot, where 
there was no probability that he would be mo- 
lested. He had been in a state of constant excitement 
during the night, for the country was full of soldiers, 
^he mountaineers of Virginia were rushing to the 
standard of rebellion. They were a wild, rude set of 
men, and tliey made the night hideous M'ith their de- 
bauchery. Tom succeeded in keeping out of the way 
of the straggling parties which were roaming here and 
there ; but he was filled with dread and anxiety lest he 
should, at the next moment, stumble upon a camp, or 
a squad of these marauders. 

The nook in the mountains which he had chosen as 
his resting place was a cleft in the rocks, concealed ly 
the overhanging branches of trees. Here he made his 
bed, as the sun rose, and, worn out with fatigue and 
anxiety, he dropped asleep. 

When he awoke, the sun was near the meridian. He 



TO.\f SOMJ-:iiS IX THK Ali.MY. ^97 

rose and walked out a short distance from his lodging 
place, and li?tened lor any sounds which might indicate 
the presence of an enemy. All was still ; silence deep 
and profound reigned through the solitudes of the moun- 
tains. Tom returned to his place of concealment, and 
after eatiuir the remainder of the food he had brou;?ht 
with him, he stretched himself upon the ground, and 
went to sleep again. lie had nothing else to do, and 
he needed all the rest he could obtain. It was fortu- 
nate for him that he had self-possession enough to sleep — 
to banish his nervous doubts and fears, and thus secure 
the repose which was indispensable to the success of his 
arduous enterprise. 

It was after sundown when he finished his second 
nap. He had slept nearly all day, — at least ten hours, 
— and he was entirely refreshed and restored. He was 
rather stiff in some of his limbs when he got up ; but 
he knew this would wear off alti-r a little exercise. 
He had no supper with which to brace himself for the 
ni^^ht's work ; so he took a di^nk from the mountain 
stream, and made his v.-ay back to the railroad. But 
it was too early then to commence the passage of the 
Gap, and he sat for a couple of hours by the side of 
the road, before he ventured to resume his journey. 

While he was passing through the narrow gorge in 
the mountains, ho met several persons, on foot and on 
horseback ; but as he was armed with a pistol, he did 
17* 



198 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

not turu out for them ; but when a party of soldiers 
approached, he sought a hiding place by the side of the 
road until they were out of hearing. When he had 
passed through the Gap, he came to a road crossing the 
track, and after debating the question thoroughly, he 
decided to abandon the railroad, and pursued his course 
by the common highway towards the North. 

Continuing his journey diligently for a time longer, 
he came to another road, branching off to the left from 
the one he had chosen, Avhich required further considera- 
tion. But his conclusion was satisfactory, and he con- 
tinued on the same road, Avhich soon brought him to a 
more thickly settled country than that through which 
he had been travelling. 

By this time Tom's stomach began to be rebellious 
again, and the question of rations began to assume a 
serious aspect. He was not suifering for food, but it 
was so much more comfortable to travel upon a full 
stomach than an empty one, that he could not pass a 
dwelling house without thinking of the contents of the 
cellar and closets. It was perfectly proper to forage 
on the enemy ; but he could not eat raw chickens and 
geese, or the problem of rations would have been effect- 
ually settled by a demonstration on the hen-coops of the 
Shenandoah valley. 

He came to a halt before a large mansion, which 
had the appearance of belonging to a wealthy person. 



TOM SOMERS /.V THE ARMY. J99 

Its larder aud kitchen cupboards, he doubted not, were 
plentifully supplied with the luxuries of the season ; and 
Tom thought he might as well obtain his provisions 
now, as wait till he was driven to desperation by 
hunger. He entered the front gate of the great house, 
aud stepped upon the veranda in front of it. The 
windows reached down to the floor. He tried one of 
them, and found that it was not fastened. He care- 
fully raised the sash and entered. 

Tom was determined to put himself upon his impu- 
dence on the present occasion ; but he satisfied himself 
that his revolver was in condition for instant use before 
he proceeded any farther. Passing from the front 
room to an apartment in the rear, he found a lamp 
and matches, and concluded that he would have some 
light on the subject, which was duly obtained. Leav- 
ing this room, he entered another, which proved to be 
the kitchen. A patient search revealed to himi the 
lurking place of a cold roa.st chicken, some fried bacon, 
bread, and crackers. 

Placing these things on the table, he seated himself 
to partake of the feast which the forethought of the 
occupants had provided for him. Tom began to be 
entirely at home, for having tjirown himself on his 
impudence now, he did not permit any doubts or fears 
to disturb him ; but the handle of his pistol protruded 
from between the buttons of his coat. He ate till he 



200 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

had satisfied himself, when he liappened to think that 
the coffee pot he had seen in the closet might contain 
some cold coffee ; and he brought it out. He was not 
disappointed, and even found sugar and milk. He 
poured out a bowl of the beverage, and, having prepared 
it to his taste, was about to conclude the feast in this 
genteel style, when he heard footsteps in the adjoining 
entry. 

Tom determined not to be cheated out of his coffee, 
and instead of putting himself in a flurry, he took the 
bowl in one hand and the pistol in the other. The 
door opened, and a negro timidly entered the room. 

" Well, sar ! " said the servant, as he edged along 
the side of the room. *■• Hem ! Well, sar ! " 

Tom took no notice of him, but continued to drink 
his coffee as coolly as though he had been in his 
mother's cottage at Pinchbrook. 

" Hem ! Well, sar ! " repeated the negro, who evi- 
dently wished to have the interloper take some notice 
of him. 

But the soldier boy refused to descend from his 
dignity or his impudence. He finished the bowl of 
coffee as deliberately as though the darkey had been 
somewhere else. 

'•Well, sar! Who's you, sar?" 

" Eh, Blackee ? " 

"Who's you, sar?" 



TO.V SOJIEBS IX Tin: A R .V Y . 201 

'" Good chicken ! Good bread ! Good bacon ! " added 
Tom. ''Are the folks at home, Blackec?" 

'" No, sar ; nobody but de -women folks, sar. Who's 
you, sar? " 

" It don't make much difference who I am. AYTiere's 
your master ? " 

" Gone to Richmond, sar. lie's member ob Con- 
gress. 

*' Then he's in poor businress, Blackee," said Tom, 
as he took out his handkerchief, and proceeded to 
transfer the remnants of his supper to its capacious 
folds. 

" Better lufF dem tings alone, sar." 

But Tom refused to " luff dem alone," and when 
he had placed them on the handkerchief, he made a 
bundle of them. 

" Golly, sar I I'll tell my missus what's gwine on 
do^v^l here," added the servant, as he moved towards 
the door. 

" See here, Blackee," interposed Tom, pointing his 
pistol at the negi'O ; '* if you move. I'll put one of these 
bajls through your skull." 

" De Lud sabe us, massa ! Don't shoot dis nigger, 
massa." 

" Hold your tongue then, and mind what I say." 

" Yes, massa," whined the darkey, in the most ab- 
ject tones. 



202 '^^^ SOLD I LP, BOY, OR 

" Now come with me, Blaekee, and if you open 
your mouth, one of these pills shall go down your 
throat." 

Tom flourished liis' pistol before the negro, and led 
the way to the window by which he had entered the 
house. Passing out upon the veranda, he cautiously 
conducted the terrified servant to the road ; and when 
they had gone a short distance, he halted. 

"Now, Blaekee, what tOAvn is this?" demanded 
Tom. 

" Leeds Manor, sar," replied the trembling negro. 

''How far is it to the Shenandoah River?" 

" Only two or tree miles, massa. Now let dis chile 
go home again." 

" Not yet." • 

" Hab mercy on dis nigger dis time, and sabe 
him." 

" I won't hurt you, if you behave yourself." 

Tom questioned him for some time in regard to the 
river, and the to^^^lS upon its banks ; and when he 
had obtained all the information in regard to the 
valley which the servant possessed, he resumed his 
journey, driving the negi'o before him. 

" Spare dis chile, massa, for de sake ob de wife 
and chil'n," pleaded the unwilling guide. 

"I tell you I won't hurt you if you behave your- 
self," replied Tom. '-You'll have the whole place 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 203 

down upon mo in lialf an hour, if I let you go 

now." 

'' No, massa ; dis nigger won't say one word 'bout 
you, nor de tings you took from de house — not one 
word, massa. Spare dis chile, and luft' him go 
home." 

But Tom compelled him to walk before him till 
they came to the river. The place was called Sea- 
burn's Ford. 

" Now, Blackee, if any body wants me, tell them I've 
gone to Winchester," said Tom, when he had ordered 
his escort to halt. 

"No, massa, I won't say one word," replied the 
servant. 

" If you do, I'll shoot you the very next time I see 
you — dopend upon that. You can go now." 

The negro was not slow to avail himself of this 
privilege, and ran off, evidently expecting a bullet from 
the revolver would overtake him before he had gone 
far. for he glanced fearfully over his shoulder, begging 
his captor not to shoot him. 

Tom stood upon the bank of the Shenandoah. The 
negro had told liim tliat he was about thirty miles 
from Harper's Ferry, wliicli he knew was in possession 
of General Patterson's forces. Attached to a tree on 
the shore was a small flat-bottomed boat, which attracted 
the attention of the soldier boy. Tom was accustomed 



2Q4 5r/r£ soldier boy, or 

to boaty, and the sight of this one suggested a change 
of programme, for it Avoiild be much easier to float down 
the stream, than to walk the thirty miles. This was a 
point which needed no argument ; and unfastening the 
painter of the boat, he jumped in, and pushed off. Seat- 
ing himself in the stern, with the paddle in his hand, he 
kept her head Avith the current, and swept down the 
rapid stream like a dreamy youth just starting upon the 
voyage of life. 

Like the pilgrim on the sea of time, Tom was not 
familiar with the navigation of the Shenandoah, and he 
had neither chart nor compass to assist him. The cur- 
rent was very swift, and once in a while the bateau 
bumped upon a concealed rock, or bar of sand. Fortu- 
nately no serious accident occurred to him, though he 
found that the labor of managing the boat was scarcely 
less than that of walking. 

There was one consolation about it ; he was in no 
danger of missing the road, and he was not bothered by 
Confederate soldiers or inquisitive civilians. His light 
bai'k nislied on its way down the stream, without 
attracting the notice of any of the inhabitants, if any 
vrere abroad at that unseemly hour of the night. The 
difficulties of the navigation w^ere oAcrcome with more 
or less labor, and when the day dawned, Tom made up 
his mind that he had done a good night's work ; and 
choosing a secluded nook bv the side of the river, he 



ToM iiuMJ::Jii> IS THE AliMY. 205 

hauled up his boat, intending to wait for the return oi* 
darkness. 

The place he had chosen appeared to be far from any 
habitation, and he ate his breakfast in a very hopeful 
frame of mind. Though he was not very tired or very 
sleepy, yet for the want of something better to do, he 
felt compelled to go to sleep, hoping, as on the previous 
day, to dispose of the weary hours in this agreeable 
manner. His pastime, however, was soon interrupted 
by loud shouts and the tramp of men, not far from the 
spot where he lay. A hurried examination of the sur- 
roundings assured him that he had chosen a resting 
place near one of the fords of the river, over which a 
rebel regiment was then passing. 
18 



206 THE SOLDIER BOY, OM 



CHAPTER XXI. 



THE PROBLEM OF RATIONS. 



/^5i^HE ford over which the rebel regiment was pass- 
/ 1 iiig was only a few rods distant from the place 
^C_L^ where Tom had concealed himself and his boat. 
TThen he discovered the soldiers, he was thrilled •svith 
terror ; and, fully believing that his hour had come, he 
dropped upon the ground, to wait, in trembling anxiety, 
the passage of the troops. It was a regiment of Vir- 
ginia mountaineers, clothed in the most fantastic style, 
with hunting-shirts and coon-skin caps. They yelled and 
howled like so many wildcats. 

From his hiding place on the bank of the stream, he 
obtained a good view of the men, as they waded across 
the river. He was fearful that some of them misrht 
stray fronl the ranks, and stumble upon his place of 
refuge ; but a kind Providence put it into their heads to 
mind their own business, and Tom gathered hope as the 
yells of the mountaineers grew indistinct in the distance. 

" This is no place for me." said Tom to himself, when 
the sounds had died awav in the direction of the Blue 



TOM SOM£JtS I.\ TUK AJiMY. 207 

Ridge. " A wholu army of them may camp near that 
ford, and drije me out of my hiding place." 

Jumping into the bateau again, he waited till he was 
satisfied no carriage or body of troops Avas in the 
vicinity ; and tlien plying the paddle with the utmost 
vigor, he pa:>>ed the ford. But then he found that the 
public highway ran along the banks of the river, which 
exposed him to increased risk of being seen. A couple 
of vehicles passed along the road while he was in this 
exposed situation ; but as the occupants of them seemed 
to take no notice of him, he congratulated himself upon 
his escape, for presently the boat was beneath the shad- 
ows of the great trees. Finding a suitable place, he 
again hauled up, and concealed himself and the bateau. 

As all danger seemed to have passed, Tom com- 
posed his nerves, ate his dinner, and went to sleep as 
u^ual ; but his rest was not so tranquil as he had en- 
joyed in the solitudes of the mountains. Visions of rebel 
soldiers haunted his dreams, and more than once he 
started up, and gazed wildly around liim ; but these were 
only visions, and there was something more real to dis- 
turb his slumbers. 

"Hi! Who are you?" exclaimed a wildcat soldier, 
who had penetrated the thicket without disturbing the 
sleeper. 

Tom started up, and sprang to his feet. One of the 
tall mountaineers, whom he had seen crossing the ford. 



208 ^-^-^ ^OLDILH JiuY, OF, 

Stood before liim ; and the reality was even more appall- 
ing than the vision. 

"Who mought you be?" demanded the tall soldier, 
with a good-natured grin upon his greasy face. 

" Faith I I believe I've been asleep ! " said Tom, rub- 
bing his eyes, and looking as innocent as a young lamb. 

" You may bet your life on thet, my boy," replied the 
rebel, laughing. ^' Hi I Jarvey ! " added he, apparently ad- 
dressing a companion at no great distance from the spot. 

Heavy footsteps announced the approach of Jarvey, 
who soon joined them. He was not less than six feet 
three inches in height, and, Avith Uxo such customers as 
these, Tom had no liope except in successful strategy. 
He had no doubt they had obtained information of him 
from the persons in the vehicles, and had come to secure 
him. He fully expected to be marched oiF to the rebel 
regiment, which could not be far oil. 

*•' AVho is he, Sid?" asked Jurvey. Avlien he reached 
the spot. 

" Dunno. Say, who are ye, stranger?" 

'tWho am I? Tom Somers, of course. Do you 
belong to fftat regiment that stopped over yonder la.-t 
night?" asked Tom, Avith a proper degree of enthusiasm. 
" Don't you know me ? " 

" WeU, w-e don't." 

"Didn't you see me over there? That's a bully regi- 
ment of vours. I'd like to join it." 



TUM SOMEBS I\ THE ARMY. QQQ 

"Would you, though, sonny?" said Sid, laughing till 
his mouth opened wide enough for a railroad train to 
pass in. 

" Wouldn't I, though ! " replied Tom. " If thereVs 
any big fighting done, I'll bet your boys do it." 

"Bet your life on thet," added Jarvey. "But why 
don't you jine a regiment? " 

" Don't want to join any regiment that comes along. 
I want to go into a fighting regiment, like yours." 

" Well, sonny, you ain't big enough to jine ours," said 
Sid, as he compassionately eyed the young man's diminu- 
tive proportions. 

'■• The old man wouldn't let me go in when I wanted 
to, and I'm bound not to go in any of your fancy regi- 
ments. I want to fight wlicn I go." 

" You'll do, sonny. Now, what ye doing here ? " 

" I came out a-fishing, but I got tired, and went to 
sleep." 

" Where's your fish-line ? " 

" In the boat." 

" What ye got in that handkerchief? " 

" My dinner," replied Tom. "Won't you take ti bite ? " 

" What ye got ? " 

" A piece of cold chicken and some bread." 

" We don't mind it now, sonny. Hev you seen any 
men with this gear on in these yere parts?" asked 
Jarvey, as he pointed to his uniform. 
18* 



210 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" Yes, Sir," replied Tom, vigorously. 

" TVhar d' ye see 'em, sonny?" 

" They crossed the ford, just above, only a little while 
ago." 

" How many?" 

*' Two," replied Tom, with promptness. 

*' Where's the other?" asked Jarvey, turning to his 
companion. 

"He's in these yere woods, somewhar. TTe'll fotch 
'em before night. You say the two men crossed the ford 
— did ye, sonny ? " 

"Yes, half an hour ago. What is the matter with 
them?" 

" They're mean trash, and want to run off. Xow, 
sonny, 'spose you put us over the river in your boat." 

" Yes, sir ! " replied Tom, readily. 

The two wildcats got into the bateau, nearly swamp- 
ing it by their great weight, and Tom soon landed them 
on the other side of the river. 

" Thank 'e, sonny," said Jarvey, as they jumped on 
shore. " If you were only four foot higher, we'd like to 
take you into our regiment. You'll make a right smart 
chance of a soldier one of these yere days. Good by, 
sonny." 

" Good by," answered Tom. as he drew a long breath, 
indicative of his satisfaction at being so well rid of his 
passengers. 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 211 

lie had fully persuaded himself that he should be car- 
ried off a prisoner to this Avildcat regiment, and he could 
hardly believe his senses when he found himself again 
safely floating down the rapid tide of the Shenandoah. 
His impudence and his self-possession had saved him ; 
but it was a mystery to him that his uniform, or tlie 
absence of his fish-line, or the answers he gave, had not 
betrayed him. The mountaineers had probably not yet 
seen a United States uniform, or they would, at least, 
have questioned him about his dress. 

Tom ran down the river a short distance farther before 
he ventured to stop again, for he could not hope to meet 
with many rebel soldiers who vrcre so innocent and inex- 
perienced as these wildcats of the mountains had been. 
TThen the darkness favored his movements, he asrain 
embarked upon his voyage. Twice during the night his 
boat got aground, and once he Avas pitched into the 
river by striking upon a rock ; but he escaped these and 
other perils of the navigation with nothing worse than a 
thorough ducking, which was by no means a new expe- 
rience to the soldier boy. In the morning, well satisfied 
with his night's work, he laid up for the day in the safest 
place he could find. 

On the second day of his voyage down the river, the 
old problem of rations again presented itself for consid- 
eration, for the ham and chicken he had procured at 
Leed's Manor were all gone. There were plenty of 



212 '^BE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

houses on the banks of the river, but Tom had hoped to 
complete his cruise "without the necessity of again expos- 
ing himself to the peril of being captured while foraging 
for the commissary department. But the question was 
as imperative as it had been several times before, and 
twelve hours fasting gave him only a faint hint of what his 
necessities might compel him to endure in twenty-four or 
forty-eight hours. He did not consider it wise to post- 
pone the settlement of the problem till he was actually 
sufferina: for the want of food. 

On the third night of his voyage, therefore, he hauled 
up the bateau at a convenient place, and started off upon 
a foraging expedition, intending to visit some farmer's 
kitchen, and help himself, as he had done on a former 
occasion. Of course, Tom had no idea Avhere he was ; 
but he hoped and believed that he should soon» reach 
Harper's Ferry. 

After making his way through the Avoods for half a 
mile, he came to a public road, \vhieh he followed till it 
brought him to a house. It Avas evidently the abode of 
a thrifty farmer, for near it were half a dozen negi'o 
houses. As the dwelling had no long windows in front, 
Tom was obliged to approach the place by a flank and 
rear movement ; but the back door was locked. He tried 
the windows, and they were fastened. TVTiile he was 
reconnoitring the premises, he heard heavy footsteps 
within. Returning to the door, he knocked vigorously 
for admission. 



TOM SO. VERS IX THE ARMY. 213 

•* Wlio's tliar?" said a man, as he threw the door 
wide open. 

'• A stranger, who wants something to eat," replied 
Tom, boldly. 

'• Who are ye?" 

'• My name is Tom Somers," added the soldier boy, 
as he stepped into the house. " Can you tell me whether 
the Seventh Georgia Regiment is down this way ? " 

'' I reckon 'tis ; least wise I don't know. There's 
three rigiments about five mile below yere." 

'" I was told my regiment was down this way, and I'm 
trying to find it. I'm half starved. Will you give me 
something to eat ? " 

*' Sartin, stranger ; I'll do thet." 

The man, who was evidently the proprietor of the 
house, brought up the remnant of a boiled ham, a loaf 
of white bread, some butter, and a pitcher of milk. 
Tom ate till he was satisfied. The farmer, in deference 
to his amazing appetite probably, suspended his questions 
till the guest began to show some signs of satiety, when 
he pressed him again as vigorously as though he had 
been born and brought up among the hills of New Eng- 
land. 

'• TVTiere d' ye come from?" said he. 

*• From Manassas. I lost my regiment in the fight ; 
and the next day I heard they had been toted over this 
way, and I put after them right smart," answered Tom, 



214 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

adopting as much of the Georgia vernacular as his 
knowledge would permit. 

"Walk all the way?" 

*' No ; I came in the keers most of the way." 

'" But you don't wear our colors," added the farmer, 
glancing at Tom's clothes. 

" My clothes Avere all worn out, and I helped myself 
to the best suit I could find on the field." 

" AVhat regiment did ye say ye b'longed to?" queried 
the man, eying the uniform again. 

" To the Seventh Georgia. Perhaps you can tell me 
where I shall find it." 

" I can't ; but I reckon there's somebody here that 
can. I'll call him." 

Tom was not at all particular about obtaining this 
information. There was evidently some military man in 
the house, who would expose him if he remained any 
longer. 

"Who is it, father?" asked a person who had proba- 
bly heard a part of tlie conversation we have narrated ; 
for the voice proceeded from a bed-room adjoining the 
apartment in which Tom had eaten his supper. 

" A soldier b'longing to the Seventh Georgia," an- 
swered the farmer. " That's my son ; he's a captain in 
the cavalry, and he'll know all about it. He can tell you 
where yer regiment is," added lie, turning to Tom, who 
was edofinof towards the door. 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 215 

" I'm very much obliged to you for my supper," said 
the fugitive, nervously. " I reckon 1^11 be moving along." 

'• Wait half a second, and my son will tell you just 
where to find your regiment," 

" The Seventh Georgia?" said the captain of cavalry, 
enterin'T^ the room at this moment with nothinoj but his 
pants on. '•' There's no such regiment up here, and 
hasn't been. I reckon you're a deserter." 

" No, sir ! I scorn the charge," replied Tom, with 
becoming indignation. " I never desert my colors." 

*' I suppose not," added the officer, glancing at his 
uniform ; " but your colors desert you." 

Tom failed to appreciate the wit of the reply, and 
backed off towards the door, with one hand upon the 
stock of his revolver. 

" Hold on to him, father ; don't let him go," said the 
officer, as he rushed back into his chamber, evidently for 
his pistols or his sabre. 

" Hands off, or yoy are a dead man ! " cried Tom, as 
he pointed his revolver at the head of the farmer. 

In another instant, the captain of cavalry re-appeared 
with a pistol in each hand. A stunning report resounded 
through the house, and Tom heard a bullet whistle by 
his head. 



216 THE SOLDIER BOT, OR 



CHAPTER XXII. 



THE PICKET GUARD. 



^1 T was sufficiently obvious to Tom that, on the 
^1 present occasion, the suspicions of his host 
were awakened. It is possible that, if he had 
depended upon his impudence, he might have suc- 
ceeded in deceiving the Confederate officer ; but his 
evident intention to retire from the contest before 
an investigation could be had, proved him, in the 
estimation of the captain, to be either a spy or a 
deserter, and shooting him was preferable to losing 
him. 

The officer fired quick, and with little attention to 
the important matter of a steady aim ; and Tom had 
to thank his stars for the hastv shot. for. though it 
went within a few inches of his head, "'a miss was 
as good as a mile," and the brains of our hero re- 
mained intact and complete. But he was not willing 
to be the subject of any further experiments of this 
description, and without waiting further to express his 
gratitude to the host for the bountiful supper he had 



TOM SOMhRS IN THE ARMY. 



217 



^^'■' eaten, he threw open the door, and dashed off at the 
top of his speed. 

The revolver he carried was a very good implement 
with which to bully a negro, or an unarmed farmer ; but 
Tom had more confidence in his legs than in his skill as 
a marksman, and before the captain could transfer the 
second pistol from his left to his right hand, he had 
passed out of the house, and was concealed from his 
pursuers by the gloom of the night. He felt that he 
had had a narrow escape, and he was not disposed to 
trifle with destiny by loitering in the vicinity of the 
house. 

He had not proceeded far before he heard a hue and 
cry behind him ; and if the captain of cavalry had not 
stopped to put on his boots, it is more than possible 
that our humble volume might have contained a chap- 
ter or two upon prison life in Richmond. Undoubtedly 
it was quite proper for the officer to put on his boots 
before he went out ; a decent regard for his individual 
sanitary condition, and a reasonable horror of ague and 
rheumatism, would liave induced him to do it, even 
at the risk of losing a Federal prisoner, or a rebel 
deserter, as the case might be. At any rate, if Tom 
liad known the cause of the delay, he would freely 
have forgiven him for wasting his time in healthful 
precautions. 

Tlie fugitive retraced his steps to the river by the 
19 



213 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OB 

same route he had taken in approaching the hospitable 
roof of the farmer. As nearly as he could judge by 
the sounds that reached him from the distance, the 
officer and his father were gathering up a force to hunt 
down the fugitive. Tom jumped into the bateau, and 
pushed off. Keeping under the shadow of the bank 
of the river, he plied his paddle vigorously, and by the 
time liis pursuers arrived at the river, he was a couple 
of miles from the spot. He could hear a shout occa- 
sionally in the deep silence of the night, but with the 
distance between him and the enemy, he felt entirely 
secure. The danger had passed, and he floated leisurely 
on his voyage, buoyant as his light bark, and hopeful as 
the dream of youth. 

Hour after" hour, in the gloom of the solemn night, he 
Avas borne by the swift tide towards the lines of the 
loyal army. The day was dawning, and he was on the 
lookout for a suitable place to conceal himself, until the 
friendly shades of night should again favor his move- 
ments. After the experience of the former night near 
the ford, he was very cautious in the selection of a 
hiding place. It is not always safe to be fastidious ; for 
while Tom was rejecting one location, and waiting for 

another to appear, the river bore him into a tract of 
> 

very open country, which was less favorable than that 
through which he had just been passing. 

The prospect began to make him nervous ; and while 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 219 

he was bitterly regretting that he had not moored the 
boat before, he was startled to hear a sharp, command- 
ins: voice on the bank at his left. 

'' Who comes there? Halt ! " 

Tom looked up, and discovered a gi-ayback, stand- 
ing on the shore, very deliberately pointing his musket 
at him. 

" Who comes there ? " demanded the picket ; for at 
this point were stationed the outposts of the rebel 
force in the Shenandoah valley. 

'• Friend I " replied Tom. 

'- Halt, then 1 " 

'* I would, if I could," ansAA-ered Tom, as hastily as 
possible. 

'' Halt, or I'll fire ! " 

'• I tell you I cau't halt," replied Tom, using his 
paddle vigorously, as though he Avas trying to urgft the 
bateau to the shore. '*• Don't fire ! For mercy's sake, 
don't fire." 

Tom appeared to be intensely frightened at the situ- 
ation in AA'hich he AA'as placed, and redoubled his ef- 
forts apparently to gain the bank of the stream ; but 
the more he seemed to paddle one AA-ay, the more the 
boat went the other Avay. HoAvever much Tom ap- 
peared to be terrified by the peril that menaced 
him, it must be confessed that he Avas not wholly 
Unmoved. 



220 ^^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OB 

" Stop your boat, quick I " said the soldier, who 
had partially dropped his musket from its menacing 
position. 

"• I can't stop it," responded Tom, apparently in an 
agony of terror. '"I. would go ashore if I could." 

'^ What's the matter?" 

" The water runs so swift, I can't stop her ; been 
trying this two hours." 

" You will be inside the Yankee lines in half an 
hour if you don't fetch to," shouted the picket. 

" Gracious ! " exclaimed Tom, redoubling his ef- 
forts. 

But it was useless to struggle with the furious cur- 
rent, and Tom threw himself into the bottom of the 
boat, as if in utter desperation. If Niagara Falls, 
with their thunderinoj roar and fearfulabvss, had been 
before liim, his agony could not have been more intense, 
as judged from the shore. 

By this time, the sentinel on the bank had been 
joined by his two companions, and the three men form- 
ing the picket post stood gazing at him, as he abandoned 
himself to the awful fate of being captured by the blood- 
thirsty Yankees, to whose lines the relentless current 
of the Shenandoah was bearing him. 

TThen Tom was first challenged by the grayback, 
the boat had been some twent}^ rods above him ; and 
it had now passed the spot vrhere he stood, but the 



TOM SOMKKS IS THE A li M Y . 221 

rebels were still near enough to converse with him. 
Tom heard one of them ask another who he was. 
Of course neither of them knew who he was, or where 
he came from. 

" Try again ! " shouted one of the pickets. " The 
Yankees will have you in a few minutes." 

Tom did make another ineffectual effort to check the 
progress of the bateau, and again abandoned the attempt 
in despair. The rebels followed him on the bank, en- 
couraging him with words of cheer, and with dire 
prophecies of his fate if he fell into the hands of the 
cruel Yankees. 

'• Can't you help me ? " pleaded Tom, in accents of 
despair. " Throw me a rope ! Do something for me." • 

Now, this was a suggestion that had not before oc- 
curred to the picket guard, and Tom would have been 
infinitely wiser if he had not put the idea of assisting 
him into their dull brains : for it is not at all probable 
that they would have thought of such a thing them- 
selves, for the south, especially the poor white trash, are 
not largely endowed with inventive genius. 

" Save me ! Save me ! " cried Tom, a> he saw the 
rebels engaged in a hasty consultation, the result of 
which was, that two of tliem started off upon the run 
in a direction at riorht andes with the stream. 

" Try again ! Stick to it ! " shouted the picket left 
on the shore. 

19* 



222 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

'' I can't do any more ; I'm all tired out," replied 
Tom, throwing himself for the fourth time in the bot- 
tom of the boat, the very picture of despair. 

The picture was very much exaggerated and over- 
drawTi ; but as long as the bullet from the rebel's musket 
did not come his way, Tom was satisfied with his acting, 
and hopeful for the future. The man on the shore, full 
of sjTupathy for the distressed and exhausted voyager, 
walked and ran so as to keep up with the refractory 
barge, which seemed to be spitefully hurling its agonized 
passenger into the Federal lines, where death and dun- 
geons lurked at every corner. 

T\"hile this exciting drama was in progress, the stream 
bore Tom to a sharp bend in the river, where the cur- 
rent set in close to the shore. His attentive guardian 
on the bank ran ahead, and stationed himself at this 
point, ready to afford any assistance to the disconsolate 
navigator wliicli the circumstances might permit. 

" Xow's your chance ! " shouted he. " Gosh all 
whittaker ! put in now, and do your pootiest ! " 

Tom adopted this friendly advice, and '' put in " 
with all his might ; but the more he " put in," the 
more he put out — from the shore, whither the in- 
auspicious eddies were sweeping him. If Tom had 
not been born in Pinchbrook, and had a home by the 
sea, where boating is an appreciated accomplishment, 
he would probably have been borne into the arms of 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 223 

tte expectant rebel, or received in his vitals the ounce 
of coid lead which that gentleman's musket contained. 
As it was, he had the skill to do what he seemed not 
to be doing. Mr. Johnny Reb evidently did not suspect 
that Tom was " playing 'possum," as the Tennessee 
sharpshooters would have expressed it. The voyager's 
efforts appeared to be made in good faith ; and cer- 
tainly he applied himself with a degree of zeal and 
energy which ought to have overcome the inertia of 
a small gunboat. ' 

The bateau approached the point not more than a 
rod from the waiting arms of the sympathizing gray- 
back. As it passed, he waded a short distance hito 
the water, and stretched forth his musket to the un- 
happy voyager. Tom tlirew down his paddle, and 
sprang with desperate energy to obtain a hold upon 
the gun. lie even succeeded in grasping the end of 
the bayonet. For a moment he pulled so hard that 
it was doubtful whether the bateau would be hauled 
ashore, or Secesli drawn into the deep water. 

'•Hold on tight, my boy! Pull for your life!" 
shouted the soldier, highly excited by the probable 
success of his philanthropic efforts. 

" Save me ! Save me ! " groaned Tom, as he tugged, 
or seemed to do so, at the bayonet. 

Then, while the united exertions of the saver and 
the saved, in anticipation, were on the very point of 



224 ^-^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

being successful, the polished steel of the bayonet 
unaccountably slipped through the fingers of Tom, 
and the bateau was borne off towards the opposite 
shore. 

" Save me ! Save me," cried Tom again, in tones 
more piteous than ever. 

" Wliat d'ye let go fur?" said the grayback, in- 
dignantly, as his musket, which he had held by the 
tip end of the stock, dropped into the water, when 
Tom let go of the bayonet. 

The soldier indulged in a volley of peculiarly 
southern oaths, with which we cannot disfigure our 
page, even in deference to the necessity of painting 
a correct picture of the scene we have described. 
Tom had a vein of humor in his composition, which 
has already displayed itself in some of the rough ex- 
periences of his career ; and when he saw the rebel 
soldier deprived of all power to make war upon him, 
either offensive or defensive, he could not resist the 
temptation to celebrate the signal strategical victory 
he had obtained over the picket guard. This trium- 
phal demonstration was not very dignified, nor, under 
the circumstances, very prudent or sensible. It con- 
sisted in placing the thumb of his right hand upon 
the end of his nose, while he wiggled the four re- 
maining digital appendages of the same member in 



TOM SOMEJiS IX THE ARMY. 220 

the most aji^i^ravating manner, whistling Yankee Doodle 
as an accompaniment to the movement. 

If Secesh did not understand the case before, he 
did now ; and fishing up his musket, he emptied the 
water out of the barrel, and attempted to fire it. 
Luckily for Tom, the gun would not go off, and he 
swept on his Avay jubilant and joyous. 



226 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



THE END OF THE VOYAGE. 



Z^^" OM SOMERS'S voyage do^\'ii the Shenandoah 
g I was, in many respects, a type of human life. 
^1^^ He experienced the various reverses, the trials 
and hardships, which attend all sojourners here below. 
He triumphed over all obstacles, and when he had 
completely outwitted the grayback who had labored 
so diligently to save him from his impending fate, he 
was at the zenith of prosperity. He had vanquished 
the last impediment, and tlie lines of the Union army 
— the. haven of peace to him — were only a short 
distance from the scene of his victory. 

Prosperity makes men arrogant and reckless, and I 
am sorry to say tliat it liad tlie same effect upon Tom 
Somers. If he had been content modestly to enjoy 
the victory he had achieved, it would have been wiser 
and safer for him ; but when Fortune Avas kind to him, 
he mocked her. and she turned against him. 

Wb.en he had passed out of the reach of the rebel 
soldier, wlioric musket had been rendered useless for 



TO.yr .-iOMEJiS jx the ah my. 227 

the time being, Tom believed that he Avas safe, and 
tliat he had lairly escaped from the last peril that 
menaced him on the voyage. But he was mistaken ; 
for as the current swept the bateau around the bend of 
the river, he discovered, to his astonishment and chagrin, 
the two secesh soldiers, who had left the picket post 
some time before, standing at convenient distances from 
each other and from the shore, in the water, ready to 
rescue him from the fate before him. The place they 
had chosen was evidently a ford of the river, where 
they intended to check the boat in its mad career 
down the stream. They were painfully persistent in 
their kind intentions to save him from the horrible 
Yankees, and Tom wished they had been less humane 
and less enthusiastic in his cause. 

As soon as Tom perceived this trap, he regretted his 
imprudence in betraying himself to the soldier from 
wliom he had just escaped. His sorrow was not 
diminished, when, a few minutes later, h^ heard the 
shouts of the third soldier, Asiio, by hard nmning across 
the fields, had reached the ford before him. 

'' Shoot him ! Shoot him ! He's a Yankee ! " bel- 
lowed the grayback on the shore. 

Tom was appalled at these words, and wondered how 
the soldier could have found out that he was a Yankee ; 
but when he recalled the fact that he had enteiiained 



228 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

him with Yankee Doodle at their last meeting, the 
mystery became less formidable. 

" Shoot him I He's a Yankee ! " shouted Secesh on 
the bank of the stream. 

" We've left our guns on shore," replied Secesh in 
the water. 

'^ I'm very much obliged to you for that," said Tom 
to himself, as he grasped his paddle, and set the boat 
over towards the right bank of the river. 

No doubt the rebels in the water, when they saw with 
what facility the boatman moved the bateau in the swift 
tide, as compared with his futile efforts farther up the 
stream, were fully satisfied of the truth of their com- 
panion's assertion. Tom decided to run the gantlet 
between the right bank and the soldier nearest to that 
shore. He paddled the bateau with all his vigor, until 
he had obtained the desired position. 

The graybacks in the water, realizing that they were 
engaged on an errand of peace and humanity, had left 
their muskets on shore. They were, therefore, compara- 
tively harmless ; but the one on shore had reached the 
ford, and picking up one of the muskets of his com- 
panions, without threat or warning, fired. It was 
lucky for Tom that he was not a Tennessee sharp- 
shooter, nor a Texas ranger, for the shot passed harm- 
lessly over him. The soldier dropped the gun, and 
picked up the other, which he instantly discharged, and 



TOM SOMEJiS I.y THE AliMV. 229 

with better aim than before, for tlio bull struck the 
bateau, though not within four foct of where Tom 
stood. 

'' Don't waste jour powder, if you can't shoot better 
than that," shouted one of the soldiers in the water. 
"You'll hit us next." 

" Stop him, then ! Stop him ! " replied the gray- 
back on the shore. " Kill him if you can." 

Tom was paddling with all his might to pass the 
ford before the soldier nearest to him should reach a 
position in which he could intercept the boat. The 
rebel was an enterprising fellow, and the soldier boy's 
chances were growing amazingly small. Secesh had 
actually reached a place where he could make a dash 
at the boat. There he stood with a long bowie-knife 
between his teeth, and with both hands outstretched, 
ready to seize upon the unfortunate bark. He looked 
grim and ferocious, and Tom saw that he was thoroughly 
in earnest. 

It was a trying situation for a boy of Tom's years, 
and he would fain have dodged the issue. That bowie- 
knife had a wicked look, though it was mild and tame 
compared with the savage eye of the rebel who held it. 
As it was a case of life and death, the fugitive braced 
himself up to meet the shock. Taking his position in 
the stern of the boat, he held the paddle in his left 
hand, while his right firmly grasped his revolver. It 
20 



230 ^-^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

"\va3 either " kill or be killed," and Tom was not so 
sentimental as to choose the latter rather than the for- 
mer, especially as his intended victim was a secessionist 
and a rebel. 

" Keep off, or you are a dead man," shouted Tom, as 
he flourished his pistol so that his assailant could obtain 
a fair view of its calibre, and in the hope that the fellow 
would be willing to adopt a politician's expedient, and 
compromise the matter by retiring out of range. 

" Tew kin play at that game. This yere toothpick 
will w^ipe'you out," coolly replied the fellow, as he made 
a spring at the boat. 

" Stand off! " screamed Tom, as he raised the pistol, 
and fired. 

It was a short range, and Tom would have been in- 
excusable if he had missed his aim. The rebel struck 
his chest with his right hand, and the bowie knife 
dropped from his teeth ; but with his left hand he had 
grasped the gunwale of the boat, and as he sunk 
down in the shallow water, he pulled the bateau over 
on one side till the water poured in, and threatened to 
swamp her. Fortunately the wounded man relaxed 
his hold, the boat righted, and Tom commenced pad- 
dling again with all his strength and skill. 

The other soldier in the water, as soon as he dis- 
covered where Tom intended to pass, hastened over 
to assist his associate. The shouts of their companion 





Down the Shenandoab. Page 230. 



TOM somkhs j\ t/ik Aii.\n. 231 

on shore had Tully fired tlielr .southern hearts, and 
both of them were ten times as zealous to kill or capture 
a Yankee, as they had been to save a Virginian. When 
the wounded man clutched the boat, the other Avas not 
more than ten feet from him, but farther down tlie 
stream. His associate fell, and he sprang forward lo 
engage in the affray. 

" Stand off, or you are a dead man ! " yelled Tom, 
with emphasis, as he plied his paddle with renewed 
energy, for he saw that the man could not reach 
him. 

The bateau passed them both, and Tom began to 
breathe easier. The second rebel, finding he could 
not capture or kill the detested Yankee, went to the 
assistance of his companion. The soldier boy sus- 
pended his exertions, for the danger seemed to be over, 
and gazed with interest upon the scene which was trans- 
piring in the water just above him. lie was anxious to 
know whetlier he luid killed the rebel or not. There 
•was something awful in the circumstances, for the sol- 
dier boy's sensibilities wen- too acute to permit him to 
take a human life, though it was that of an enemy, 
without producing a deep impression upon his mind. 
Perhaps, in the great battle in which he had been a 
participant, he had killed several rebels ; if he had 
done so, he had not seen them fall. This was the 
first man lie had consciously killed or wounded, and 



232 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

the fact was solemn, if not appalling, to the young 
soldier. ^ 

As the rebel raised his companion from the water 
he seemed to be dead, and Tom was forced to the 
conclusion that he had killed him. He had done 
the deed in self-defence, and in the strict line of duty. 
He could not be blamed even by his enemies for the 
act. He felt no exultation, and hoped from the bottom 
of his heart that the man was prepared to meet his 
Maker, into whose presence he had been so suddenly 
summoned. 

Tom had heard the boys in Pinchbrook tcilk lightly 
about killing rebels, and he had talked so himself; but 
the reality was not so pleasant as. it had seemed at a 
distance. He was sorry for the poor fellow, and wished 
he had not been obliged to kill him. It was terrible to 
him, even in battle, to take a human life, to slay a being 
created in the image of God, and for whom Christ lived 
and died. 

While he was indulging in these sad reflections, he 
heard a bullet whistle near his head. The secesh sol- 
dier on the shore had loaded up his companions' muskets, 
and was doing his best to bring do^^^l the lucky fugitive. 
His last shot wa^ not a bad one, and Tom could not 
help thinking, if the grayback should hit him, that 
he would not Avaste any fine feelings over liim. He 
did not like the sound of those whizzing bullets, and 



TO.V SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 233 

«3 lie had never boasted of his courage, he did not 
scorn to adopt precautionary measures. The water was 
three inches deep in the bottom of the bateau ; but Tom 
deemed it prudent to lie down there until the current 
should bear him out of the reach of the rebel bullets. 

He maintained this recumbent posture for half an 
hour or more, listening to the balls that frequently 
whistled over his head. Once he ventured to raise 
his head, and discovered, not one man, but a dozen, 
on the shore, which accounted for the rapid firing he 
heard. AVlien he looked up again, his bateau had 
passed round a bend, and he was no longer exposed 
to the fire of the enemy. 

From his heart Tom thanked God for his escape. 
lie was religiously grateful for the aid which Provi- 
dence had rendered him, and when he thought how near 
lie had stood to the brink of destruction, he realized how 
narrow the span between the Here and the Hereafter. 
And the moral of his reflections Avas, that if he stood 
so near to the open gate of death, he ought always to 
live wisely and well, and ever be prepared to pass 
the portals which separate time from eternity. 

Tom's thoughts were sad and heavy. He could not 
banish from his mind the face of the rebel, as he 
raised his hand to his breast, where he had received 
his mortal wound. That countenance, full of hate and 
revenge, haunted him for weeks afterwards, in the 
20* 



234 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, Oil 

solitude of his tent, and on his midnight vigils as a 
sentinel. 

As he sat in the boat, thinking of the events of the 
morning, and listening to the mournful rippling of the 
waters, which, to his subdued soul, sounded like the 
requiem of his victim, he was challenged from the 
shore again. 

" Who comes there ! " 

Tom jumped up, and saw a sentinel on the bank 
pointing his gun at him. He surveyed the form with 
anxious interest ; but this time he had nothing to fear, 
for the soldier wore the blue uniform of the United 
States army. 

" Friend," replied he, as he grasped his paddle. 

" Come ashore, or I'll put a bullet through you," 
added the sentinel. 

'• Don't do it 1 " said Tom, with energy. " Can't 
you see the colors I Avear." 

" Come ashore, then." 

" I will." 

The soldier boy worked his paddle with vigor and 
skill, and it was astonishing to observe with what 
better success than when invited to land by the gi'ay- 
back up the river. The guard assisted him in land- 
ing and securing his boat. 

"Who are you?" demanded he, as he gazed at 
Tom's wet and soiled garments. 



TO^f SOMKIiS jy Tin: AJIMY. 235 

'' I was taken prisoner at Bull Run, and came back 
on my own hook." 

" Perhaps you were, but you can't pass these lines," 
said the soldier. 

Tom was sent to the Federal camp, and passed from 
one officer to another, till he was finally introduced to 
General Banks, at Harper's Ferry. He was questioned 
in rejrard to his own adventures, the country he had 
passed througli, and the troops of the enemy he had 
seen. When, to use his own expression, he had been 
" pumped dry," he was permitted to rest a few days, 
and then forwarded to his regiment. 



236 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



BUDD S FERRY. 



/^^^HOUGH Tom Somers had been absent from 
mI the regiment only a fortnight, it seemed to 
\^,Jy him as though a year had elapsed since the 
day of the battle when he had stood shoulder to 
shoulder with his townsmen and friends. He had 
been ordered to report to the provost marshal at 
Washington, where he learned that his regiment was 
at Bladensburg, about six miles from the city. Being 
provided with the necessary pass and " transportation," 
he soon reached the camp. 

*' Tom Somers ! Tom Somers ! " shouted several 
of his comrades, as soon as they recognized him. 

" Three cheers for Tom Somers ! " shouted Bob 
Dornton. 

The soldier boy was a favorite in the company, 
and his return was sufficient to justify such a pro- 
ceeding. The cheers, therefore, were given with 
tremendous enthusiasm. 

" Tom, I'm glad to see you ! " said old Hapgood, 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 



237 



-vvith extended hand, while his eyes filled with tears. 
'' I was afeard we should never see you again." 

The fugitive shook hands with every member of the 
company who was present. His reception was in the 
highest degree gratifying to him, and he was deter- 
mined always to merit the good will of his companions 
in arms. 

'' Now, fellows, tell us what the news is," said Tom, 
as he seated himself on a camp stool before the tent 
of his mess. 

'' There are letters for you, Tom, in the hands of 
the ofderly," added one of his friends. " I suppose 
you have got a bigger story to tell than any of us, 
but you shall have a chance to read your letters 
first." 

These precious missives from the loved ones at 
home were given to him, and the soldier boy opened 
them with fear and trembling, lest he should find in 
them some bad news ; but his mother and all the 
family were well. One of them was written since the 
battle, and it was evidently penned with deep solici- 
tude for his fiite, of which nothing had been heard. 

Hapgood, who sat by him while he read his letters, 
assured him that his mother must know, by this time, 
that he was not killed, for all the men had written to 
their friends since the battle. The captain who had 
escaped from Sudley church had reported liim alive 



238 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

and well, but he had no information in regard to his 
escape. 

" We are all well, and every thing goes on about 
the same as usual in Pinehbrook," wrote one of his 
older sisters. " John is so bent upon going to sea in the 
navy, that it is as much as mother can do to keep him 
at home. He says the country wants him, and he wants 
to go ; and what's more, he must go. We haven't heard 
a word from father since he left home ; but Captain Bar- 
ney read in the paper that his vessel had been sunk in 
the harbor of Norfolk to block up the channel. TTe can 
only hope that he is safe, and pray that God will have 
him in his holy keeping. 

" Squire Pemberton was dreadful mad because his 
son went into the army. He don't say a word about 
politics now." 

In a letter from John, he learned that Captain Barney 
had advanced the money to pay the interest on the note, 
and that Squire Pemberton had not said a word about 
foreclosino; the morto-afre. His brother added that he 
was determined to go into the navy, even if he had to 
run away. He could get good wages, and he thought 
it was a pity that he should not do his share towards 
supporting the family. 

Tom finished his letters, and was rejoiced to find that 
his friends at home were all well and happy ; and in 
a few davs more, a letter from him would gladden 



7'OiW SO ME US IX THE ARMY. 939 

their hearts with the intelligence of his safe return to 
the regiment. 

••All well — ain't they?" asked Hapgood, as Tom 
folded up the letters and put them in his pocket ; and 
tlie veteran could not fail to see, from the happy ex- 
pression of his countenance, that their contents were 
satisfactory. 

" All well," replied Tom. " Where is Fred Pember- 
ton ? I haven't seen him yet." 

" In the hospital : he's sick, or thinks he is," answered 
Hapgood. " Ben Lethbridge is in the guard house. 
He attempted to run away while we were coming over 
from Shuter's Hill." 

"Who were killed, and avIio were wounded? I 
haven't 'heard a word about the affair, you know," 
asked Tom. 

" Sergeant Bradford was wounded and taken pris- 
oner. Sergeant Brown was hit by a shell, but not hurt 
nmch. The second lieutenant Avas wounded in the foot, 
and " 

A loud laugh from the men interrupted the state- 
ment. 

"What are you laughing at?" demanded Tom. 

" He resigned," added Bob Dornton, chuckling. 

"You said he was wounded?" 

" I didn't say so ; the lieutenant said so himself, and 
hobbled about with a big cane for a week ; but as soon 



940 ^-'^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

as his resignation was accepted, he threw away his stick, 
and walked as well as ever he could." 

The boys all laughed heartily, and seemed to enjoy 
the joke prodigiously. Tom thought it was a re- 
markable cure, though the remedy was one which no 
decent man would be willing to adopt. 

"How's Captain Benson?" 

" He's better ; he felt awful bad because he wasn't 
in that battle. The colonel has gone home, sick. He 
has more pluck than body. He was sun-struck, and 
dropped off his horse, like a dead man, on the field. 
It's a gi'eat pity he hasn't twice or three times as much 
body ; if he had, he'd make a first-rate officer." 

It was now Tom's turn to relate his adventures ; and 
he modestly told his story. His auditors were deeply in- 
terested in his narrative, and when he had finished, it was 
unanimously voted that Tom was a " trump ; " which I 
suppose means nothing more than that he was a smart 
fellow — a position which no one who has read his 
adventures will be disposed to controvert. 

A long period of comparative inactivity for the regi- 
ment followed the battle of Bull Run. General McClellan 
had been called from the scene of his brilliant operations 
in "Western Virginia, to command the army of the Po- 
tomac, and he was engaged in the arduous task of 
organizing the vast body of loyal troops that rushed for- 
ward to sustain the government in this dark hour of peril. 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARAfY. 



241 



While at Bladensburg the — th regiment with three 
others were formed into a brigade, the command of 
which was given to Hooker — a name then unknown 
beyond the circle of his own friends. 

About the first of November the brigade was sent 
to Budd's Ferry, thirty miles below Washington, on 
the Potomac, to watch the rebels in that vicinity. 
The enemy had, by this time, closed the river against 
the passage of vessels to the capital, by erecting bat- 
teries at various places, the principal of which were 
at Evansport, Shipping Point, and Cockpit Point. 
Budd's Ferry was a position in the vicinity of these 
works, and the brigade was employed in picketing the 
river, to prevent the enemy on the other side from 
approaching, and also to arrest the operations of the 
viler traitors on this side, who were attempting to 
send supplies to the rebels. 

It was not a very exciting life to which the boys 
of our regiment were introduced on their arrival at 
Budd's Ferry, though the rebel batteries at Shipping 
Point made a great deal of noise and smoke at times. 
As the season advanced the weather bejran to irrow 
colder, and the soldiers were called to a new experi- 
ence in military life ; but as they were gradually 
inured to the diminishing temperature, the hardship 
was less severe than those who gather around their 
northern fireside may be disposed to imagine. Tom 
21 



242 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

continued to be a philosopher, which was better than 
an extra blanket ; and he got along very well. 

It was a dark, cold, and windy night, in December, 
when Tom found himself doing picket duty near the 
mouth of Chickamoxon Creek. Nobody supposed that 
any rebel sympathizer would be mad enough to attempt 
the passage of the river on such a night as that, for 
the Potomac looked alive with the angry waves that 
beat upon its broad bosom. Hapgood and Fred Pem- 
berton were with him, and the party did the best they 
could to keep themselves comfortable, and at the same 
time discharge the duty assigned to them. 

" Here, lads," said old Hapgood, who, closely muffled 
in his great-coat, was walking up and down the bank 
of the creek to keep the blood warm in his veins. 

*'"WTiat is it. Hapgood?" demanded Fred, who was 
coiled up on the lee side of a tree, to protect him from 
the cold blast that swept down the creek. 

" Hush I " said Hapgood. " Don't make a noise ; 
there's a boat coming. Do^^^l ! down ! Don't let 
them see you." 

Tom and Fred crawled upon the ground to the 
verge of the creek, and placed themselves by the side 
of the veteran. 

" I don't see any boat," said Tom. 

"I can see her plain enough, with my old eyes. 
Look up the creek." 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 243 

*' Ay, ay ! I see her." 

''So do I," added Fred. ''What shall we do?" 

" Stop her, of course," replied Tom. 

" That's easy enough said, but not so easily done. 
"We had better send word up to the battery, and let 
them open upon her," suggested Fred. 

" Open upon the man in the moon ! " replied Tom, 
contemptuously. " Don't you see she is under sail, 
and driving down like sixty ? AVe must board her ! " 

Tom spoke in an emphatic whisper, and pointed to 
a small boat, which lay upon the shore. The craft 
approaching was a small schooner apparently about 
five tons burden. The secessionists of Baltimore or 
elsewhere had chosen this dark and tempestuous night 
to send over a mail and such supplies as could not 
be obtained, for love or money, on the other side of 
the Potomac. Of course, they expected to run the 
risk of a few shots from the Union pickets on the 
river ; but on such a night, and in such a sea, there 
was very little danger of their hitting the mark. 

Up the creek tlie water was comparatively smooth ; 
but the little schooner was driving furiously down the 
stream, with the wind on her quarter, and the 'chances 
of making a safe and profitable run to the rebel line, 
those on board, no doubt, believed were all in their 
favor. 

*' We have no time to lose," said Hapgood, with 



244 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

energy, as he pushed off the boat, which lay upon the 
beach. '' Tumble in lively, and be sure your guns 
are in good order." 

'' Mine is all right," added Tom, as he examined 
the cap on his musket, and then jumped into the 
boat. 

" So is mine," said Fred ; " but I don't much like 
this business. Do you know how many men there are 
in the schooner?" 

" Don't know, and don't care," replied Tom. 

'• Of course they are armed. They have revolvers, 
I'll bet my month's pay." 

" If you don't want to go, stay on shore," answered 
Hapgood, petulantly. " But don't make a noise about it." 

" Of course I'll go, but I think we are getting into 
a bad scrape." 

Tom and Hapgood held a hurried consultation, which 
ended in the former's taking a position in the bow of 
the boat, while the other two took their places at the 
oars. The muskets were laid across the thwarts, and 
the rowers pulled out to the middle of the creek, just 
in season to intercept the schooner. Of course they 
were seen by the men on board of her, who attempted 
to avoid them. 

" Hallo ! " said Tom, in a kind of confidential 
tone. " On board the schooner there ! Are you 
going over ? " 



TOM SUMKRS IX THE ARMY. 245 

** Yes. What do you want ? " answered one of the 
men on board the vessel. 

" We want to get over, and are afraid to go in this 
boat. Won't you take us over?" 

"Who are you?" 

" Friends. We've got a mail bag." 

"Where did you get it?" 

" In Washington." 

By this time, the schooner had luffed up into the 
wind, and Tom directed his companions to pull again. 
In a moment the boat was alongside the schooner, and 
the soldier boy was about to jump upon her half-deck, 
when the rebel crew, very naturally, ordered him to 
wait till they had satisfied themselves in regard to his 
secession proclivities. 

There were five men in the schooner, all of whom 
were seated near the stern. Tom did not heed the 
protest of the traitors, but sprang on board the schooner, 
followed by his companions. 

" Now, tell us who you are before you come any 
farther," said one of the men. 

" Massachusetts soldiers ! Surrender, or you are a 
dead man," replied Tom, pointing his gun. 
21* 



246 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OB 



CHAPTER XXV. 



IN THE HOSPITAL. 



/ ?vf^ HE night was very dark, so that the rebels 
■ I in the boat could not distinguish the uniform 
^J^ of those who had applied for a passage on 
the schooner. Perhaps Tom Somers's experience in 
the Blue Ridge and on the Shenandoah had improved 
his stragetic ability, so that his words and his manner 
seemed plausible. But as strategy and cunning always 
owe their success to the comparative stupidity of the 
victims, Tom and his companions gained the half-deck 
of the schooner more by the palpable blundering of 
her crew than throudi the brilliancv of their own 
scheme. 

Tom did not stop, in the midst of the exciting enter- 
prise, to determine the particular reason of his success, 
as we, his humble biographer, have done. He was on 
the enemy's ground, and confronting the enemy's forces, 
and logic was as much out of place as rebellion in a free 
republican country. He was closely followed by Hap- 
good, and at a later period by Fred Pemberton. The 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 247 

nerves of the latter were not remarkably steady, and as 
he stepped on board the schooner, he neglected to take 
the painter with him ; and the consequence was, that 
the boat went adrift. It is good generalship to keep 
the line of retreat open ; and Fred's neglect had deprived 
them of all means of retiring from the scene of 
action. The only alternative was to light their way 
through, and find safety in success. 

To Tom's reply, that the party Avere Massachusetts 
soldiers, the rebel who had acted as spokesman for 
the crew, uttered a volley of oaths, expressive of his 
indignation and disgust at the sudden check which had 
been given to their prosperous voyage. 

" Surrender ! " repeated Tom, in energetic tones. 

Two of the rebels at the stern discharged their pis- 
tols in answer to the summons — a piece of impudence 
which our Massachusetts soldiers could not tolerate ; 
and they returned the fire. The secessionists evidently 
carried revolvers ; and a turn of the barrel enabled 
them to fire a second volley, which the soldiers 
were unable to do, for they had no time to load their 
guns. 

"01" groaned Fred, as he sunk down upon the half- 
deck. "I'm hit." 

" We can't stand this, Hapgood," said Tom, fiercely, 
as he leaped into the midst of the party in the standing 
room. " Let's give them the bayonet." 



248 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

'* Give it to 'em, Tom I " replied the veteran, as he 
placed himself by the side of his young companion. 

" Will you surrender?" demanded Tom, as he thrust 
vigorously with his bayonet. 

" We surrender," replied one of the men ; but»it was 
not the one who had spoken before, for he had dropped 
off his seat upon the bottom of the boat. 

*' Give up your pistols, then," added Hapgood. "You 
look out for the boat, Tom, and I will take care of these 
fellows." 

Tom sprang to the position which had been occupied 
by the spokesman of the party, and grasping the fore- 
sheet and the tiller of the boat, he soon brought her up 
to the wind. Seating himself in the stern, he assumed 
the management of the schooner, while Hapgood busied 
himself in taking the pistols from the hands of the 
rebels, and exploring their pockets, in search of other 
dangerous weapons. 

"How are you, Fred?" shouted Tom, when the 
pressing business of the moment had been disposed of. 
"Are you much hurt?" 

" I'm afraid my time's most up," replied he, 
faintly. 

"Where are you hit?" 

" In the face ; the ball went through my head, I sup- 
pose," he added, in tones that were hardly audible, in 
the warring of the December blast. 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 249 

*' Keep up a good heart, Fred, and we will soon be 
ashore. Have you got an easy place ? '* 

" No, the water dashes over me." 

"Can't you move him aft, Hapgood?" 

*' Pretty soon ; when I get these fellows fixed," re- 
plied the veteran, who had cut the rope nearest to his 
hands, and was securing the arms of the prisoners be- 
hind them. 

" There is no fear of them now. We have got two 
revolvers apiece, and we can have it all our own way, 
if they show fight." 

But Hapgood had bound the rebels by this time, and 
with tender care he lifted his wounded companion down 
into the standing room, and made him as comfortable as 
the circumstances would permit. 

"Now, where are w-e, Hapgood?" asked Tom, who 
had been vainly peering ahead to discover some familiar 
object by which to steer. '• I can't see the first thing." 

" I don't know where we are," replied Hapgood. 
" I never was much of a sailor, and I leave the navi- 
gating all to you." 

" I can navigate w^ell enough, if I knew where we 
were," added Tom, who had thus far been utterly un- 
able to ascertain the " ship's position." 

During the brief struggle for the possession of the 
schooner, she had drifted some distance, which had 
caused the new commander to lose his bearinsrs. The 



250 ^-^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

shore they had just left had disappeared, as though it ha.d 
been swallowed up by an earthquake. No lights were 
allowed on shore, where they could be seen from the 
river, for they afforded so many targets to the artillery- 
men in the rebel batteries. The more Tom tried to 
discover a familiar object to steer by, the more it seemed 
as though the land and every thing else had been cut 
adrift, and emigi'ated to foreign parts. Those who have 
been in a boat in a very dark night, or in a dense fog, 
will be able to appreciate the bewilderment of the skipper 
of the captured schooner. 

*' Look out, Tom, that you don't rim us into some of 
those rebel batteries," said Hapgood, after he had 
watched the rapid progress of the boat for a few mo- 
ments. '• A shot from a thirty-two pounder ■would be a 
pill we couldn't swallow." 

" Xo danger of that, Hapgood," answered Tom, 
confidently. 

" I don't know about that, my boy," answered the 
veteran, in a tone heavy with dire anxiety. 

" I know it. The schooner was running with the 
wind on her starboard quarter when we boarded her. 
"We are now close-hauled, and of course we can't make 
the shore on the other side while we are on this 
tack." 

" Well, I don't know much about it, Tom, but if 
you say it's all right, I'm satisfied ; that's all. I'd trust 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 251 

you just as far as I would General McClennon, and you 
know we all b'lieve in him." 

" What are you going to do with us ? " asked one of 
the rebels, who began to exhibit some interest in the 
fate of the schooner. 

*' I suppose you will find good quarters in Fort 
McHenry," replied Tom. ''Where do you belong?" 

" In Baltimore." 

"What are you doing here, then?" 

u ^g gQ \^ fQj. ii^g South." 

" Go in, then ! " added Tom, laughing. 

" You'll fetch up where all the rest of 'em do," 
said Hapgood. 

" How's that fellow that was hit?" asked Tom, point- 
ing to the rebel who lay in the middle of the standing 
room. 

"I guess it's all right with him," replied Hapgood, 
bending over the silent form. " No ; he isn't dead." 

" I have it I " shouted Tom, suddenly crowding the 
helm hard-a-lee. 

"What, Tom?" 

" I see where* we are. We are running up the river. 
I see the land on the weather bow." 

The schooner was put about, and after running with 
the wind amidships for ten or fifteen minutes, Tom dis- 
covered the outline of Mrs. Budd's house, which was 
directly under the guns of the Union battery. 



252 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

*' Stand by the fore halliards, Hapgood," said Tom, 
as the boat came about again. " Let go ! " 

The foresail came do\vu, and Tom sprang upon the 
pier, as the schooner came up under its lee. In a mo- 
ment the boat was made fast. By this time the 
pickets appeared. 

" ^ATio comes there?" demanded the soldier. 

*' Friends ! " replied Tom. 

" Advance, friend, and give the countersign." 

*' Little Mac," whispered the soldier boy in the ear 
of the sentinel. 

"Who are you?" 

" Co. K." answered Tom. 

"What's the row? The long roll was beat just 
now, and the whole regiment is in line. What was 
that firing?" 

" We have captured this boat, and five prisoners, 
one of them wounded, if not dead." 

'" Bully for you," replied the picket. 

They were soon joined by a squad of men, and Fred 
Pemberton and the wounded rebel were conveyed to 
the hospital, while the four prisoners were conducted 
to a secure place. Hapgood and Tom then hastened 
to the parade, where the regiment was drawn up, and 
reported the events which had just transpired. It was 
unanimously voted by officers and privates that the 
picket guard had done " a big thing," and they were 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 253 

warmlj and generously commended for their skill and 
bravery. 

Hapgood and Tom requested permission to go to 
the hospital and see their companion. They found that 
the surgeon had already dressed his wound. 

'* Will he die? " asked Tom, full of solicitude for his 
friend. 

" Die ! no ; it's a mere scratch. The ball ploughed 
into his cheek a little way," replied the surgeon. '* It 
isn't a bad wound. He was more scared than hurt." 

" I am glad it is no worse," said Captain Benson, 
who, with fatherly solicitude for his men, had come to 
the hospital as soon as the company was dismissed. 
*' But what ails you, Tom? You look pale." 

" Nothing, captain." 

" Are you sure?" 

" I don't think I am badly hurt. I believe one of 
those pistol balls grazed my side ; but I hardly felt it." 

" Let me see," said the surgeon. 

The doctor opened Tom's coat, and his gray shirt 
was found to be saturated witli blood. 

" That's a worse wound than Pemberton's. Didn't 
you know it, Tom?" 

'' Well, of course I know it ; but I didn't think it 
was any thing," replied Tom, apologetically. '' I knew 
it wouldn't do to drop down, or we should all be in 
Dixie in half an hour." 
22 



254 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" You are ray man for the present," said the doctor, 
as he proceeded to a further examination of the wound. 

Tom was hit in the side by one of the pistol bullets. 
As I have not the surgeon's report of the case, T cannot 
give a minute description of it ; but he comforted Hap- 
good and the captain with the assurance that, though 
severe, it was not a dangerous wound. 

" Tom Somers, there's a sergeant's warrant in Com- 
pany K for one of you three men," said Captain Ben- 
son, when the patient was comfortably settled upon his 
camp bed, " The colonel told me to give him the name 
of the most deserving man in my company." 

" Give it to Tom," said Hapgood, promptly. " He 
led off in this matter, and eft hadn't been for him, we 
should all have been on t'other side of the river, and 
p'raps on t'other side of Jordan, afore this time. And 
then, to think that the poor fellow stood by, and handled 
the boat like a commodore, when the life-blood was 
runnin' out of him all the time I It belongs to Tom." 

" Give it to Tom," added Fred, who lay near the 
patient. 

" Xo, Captain Benson," interposed Tom, faintly. 
" Hapgood is an old soldier, and deserves it more than 
I do. Give it to him, and I shall be better satisfied 
than if you give it to me." 

" Tom Somers ! " exclaimed old Hapgood, a flood of 
tears sliding down his furrowed cheeks, " I won't stand 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 255 

nothin' of the sort ! I'd jump into the river and drownd 
myself before I'd take it, after what you've done." 

" You are both worthy of it," added Captain Benson. 

" Please give it to Ilapgood," pleaded Tom. " He 
first proposed going out after the little schooner." 

" Give it to Tom, cap'm. It'll help heal his wound," 
said Hapgood. 

'' No ; it would do me more good to have you receive 
it," protested Tom. 

" Well, here, I can't have this battle fought in the 
hospital," interposed the surgeon. " They are good 
friends, captain, and whichever one you give it to, the 
other will be suited. You had better settle the case at 
head-quarters." 

" If you please, Captain Benson, I would like to have 
Hapgood stay Avith me to-night, if he can be spared." 

The veteran was promptly detailed for hospital duty, 
and the captain returned to his quarters to decide the 
momentous question in regard to the sergeant's warrant. 



256 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



TOM IS SEXTIiEENTAL. 



/^^^HE little schooner which the picket guard had 
1 I captured was loaded with valuable supplies for 
^^jy the rebels, which of course were confiscated 
without ceremony. The mail basr which was on board 
contained a great many letters from traitors in Balti- 
more, some of whom were exposed by the capture of 
their treasonable correspondence. 

Tom's wound proved to be more serious than even the 
surgeon had anticipated ; but the best care which it was 
possible to give in a military hospital was bestowed upon 
him. Old Hapgood, in recognition of his services on 
that eventful night, was permitted to be near the patient 
as much as the interests of the service would permit ; 
and the old man was happy when seated by the rude 
couch of the soldfer boy, ministering to his necessities, 
or cheering him with bright hopes of the future. A 
strong friendship had grown up between them, for Tom's 
kind heart and brave conduct produced a deep impres> 
sion upon the old man. 



TOM SOMERS IS THE ARMY. 257 

'^ Here, Tom," said Captain Benson, as he approached 
the sufferer, a few days after he entered the hospital, 
and laid a paper upon the bed. " Here's a prescription' 
which the colonel says you must take." 

" What is it?" asked Tom. with a faint smile. 
*' A sergeant's warrant." 

" G-lory, glory, hallelujah, as we go marching on I " 
exclaimed old Hapgood, jumping up like a youth^of six- 
teen, and SAvinging his cap above his head. 

''Shut up. there!" shouted the hospital steward. 
" Don't you know any better than to make such a 
racket in this place?" 

'' I beg pardon, Jameson. I forgot where I was," 
apologized the veteran. -The news was so good 'l 
couldn't help it. Our Tom is a sergeant now ! " 

"Not yet, Hapgood," replied Tom, feebly. '^ I 
can't accept it, Captain Benson ; it belongs to Hapgood, 
sir, and I shall feel a great deal better if you put his 
name in place of mine." 

••Don't do it, eap'n!" interposed the old man 
vehemently. " Tom shall be a brigadier general if' 
the war lasts one year more. I should feel like a 
whipped kitten if that warrant was altered." 

" The matter has been fully and fairly considered 
at head-quarters, and there is no such thing as alter- 
ing the decision now;. so, Tom, you can put the stripes 
on your arm just as .«oon as you please." 



oo ^ 



258 '^JJ^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

Hapgood insisted, tlie surgeon insisted, and the cap- 
tain insisted ; and Tom was too sick to hold way 
with them in an argument, and his name was placed 
npon the roster of the company as a sergeant. He was 
proud of the distinction which had been conferred 
upon him, though he thought Hapgood, as an older 
and abler soldier, was better entitled to the honor 
than himself. 

It was six weeks before Tom was able to enter 
upon the actual enjoyment of the well-merited pro- 
motion which he had Avon by liis gallantry ; but 
when he appeared before the company with the 
chevron of the sergeant upon his arm, he was lustily 
cheered by his comrades, and it was evident that the 
appointment was a very, popular one. Xot even the 
grumblers, of whom there is a full quota in every 
regiment, deemed it prudent to gi'owl at the decision 
of the officers. If any one ventured to suggest that 
he was too young to be placed over older and stronger 
men, his friends replied, that men in the army were 
measured by bravery and skill, not by years. 

If my young readers wish to know why Tom's ap- 
pointment was so well received by his companions in 
arms, I can only reply, that he had not only been 
brave and cheerful in the midst of peril and hardship, 
but he Avas kind and obliging to his comrades. He 
had always been willing to help those that needed 



TO.U SOMEJiS IX THE ARMY. 259 

help, to sympathize with those in trouble, and gener- 
ally to do all he could to render those around him 
happy. 

Above all these considerations, Tom was a young 
man of high principle. He had obeyed his mother's 
parting injunction, often repeated in the letters which 
came to him from home, and had faithfully "read his 
Testament." Without being a hypocrite or a canting 
saint, Tom carried about with him the true elements 
of Christian character. 

Tom had fought a greater battle than that in which 
he had been engaged at Bull Run a hundred times, 
in resisting the temptations which beset him from 
within and without. True to God and true to him- 
self, he had Avon the victory. Though his lot was 
cast in the midst of men who swore, gambled, and 
drank liquor, he had shunned these vices, and loved 
the sinner while he hated the sin. Such a person could 
not fail to win the respect of his companions. Tliough 
he had been jeered at and insulted for being sober, 
honest, and pious, he had fought down and lived down 
all these vilifiers, and won their esteem. 

It must be acknowledged tliat Tom's piety was of 
the robust type. lie would not allow any man to in- 
sult him ; and after the chastisement he had given Ben 
Lethbridge, not even those who were strong enough to 
whip him were disposed to trespass upon his rights and 



260 ^-^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

dignity. Perhaps Tom's creed needed a little revising ; 
but he lived under martial la-sv, which does not take 
cognizance of insults and revilincrs. He was willinj? to 
be smitten on the one cheek, and on the other also, for 
the good of his country, or even his friends, but not to 
be wantonly insulted. 

The influence of Tom's principles was not conflned 
to himself, for " a little leaven leaveneth the Avhole 
lump." This was particularly true of Hapgood, who, 
more through Tom's preaching and practice than from 
any strength in his own character, had steadily main- 
tained his purpose to abstain from intoxicating drinks, 
though occasional opportunities were presented for the 
indulgence of his darlinof vice. Tom and he read the 
Testament and other good books which were sent to 
the regiment, and both profited by them. 

When the soldier boy was discharged from the hos- 
pital, the surgeon gave him a pair of woollen socks, from 
a case of them which had been sent by the friends of 
the soldier in Boston and its vicinity. He was very 
much in need of them, and from the depths of his heart 
he blessed the ladies who had done this good work. He 
tmrolled the socks, and proceeded to pull one of them 
on. It was as good a fit as though his mother had knit 
it on purpose for him. 

"God bless the lady that knit these socks!" ex- 
claimed Tom, as he berran to draw on the other. 



TOM SOMJlRS in the ARMY. 261 

" Amen ! " replied Hapgood, who was watching the 
operation in full sympathy with his protege. 

"Eh! what's this?" added Tom, for his foot had 
met with an obstruction in its passage down the leg. 

He pulled off the sock, and thrusting his hand into it, 
took therefrom a letter enclosed in an envelope. 

"See that, uncle?" said he, exhibiting the prize. 

"What is it, Tom? Open it quick," replied Hapgood. 

The soldier boy broke the envelope, and took from 
it a note enclosing a photograph. Tom looked at the 
picture with a feeling of pleasure, which would have 
caused the original of the miniature, the author of the 
note, and the author of the socks, to blush .up to her 
eyes if she had beheld the expression of admiration 
which glowed upon the handsome, manly face of the 
young sergeant. 

" By all that's lovely, isn't she a beauty ! " exclaimed 
Tom, rapturously, as he glanced from the picture to 
Hapgood, who was looking over his shoulder. 

" She's hahnsome, and no mistake," replied the vet- 
eran, with a grim smile. v|. 

" Well, she is ! " added Tom, wliose eyes were 
riveted to the photograph. 

"Well, why don't you read the letter, Tom?" de- 
manded the old soldier, after the young man had 
gazed with blushing cheek upon the sweet face of 
the author of his socks for full five minutes. 



262 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" I guess I -will," said Tom ; but lie did not ; for the 
picture seemed to be glory and beauty enough to satisfy 
him for the present. 

" Read the letter, Tom ! " shouted the veteran, after 
he had waited as long as the nature of the case seemed 
to require. 

The soldier boy carefully placed the photograph in the 
envelope, and unfolded the letter. It was AATitten in a 
beautiful hand, which looked as soft and delicate as the 
fair fingers which had penned the lines. He glanced at 
it as a whole, admired the penmanship, and the fairy- 
like symmetry that make up the tout-ensemhle of the 
page, and was about to. dissolve into another rhapsody, 
when Hapgood, who was not half so sentimental as 
the sergeant, became impatient to know the contents of 
the missive. Tom read it aloud to the stoical veteran ; 
and though we cannot clothe its sweet words in the fairy 
chirography Avhich transported our hero, and made the 
letter a dream of bliss to him, we shall venture to pre- 
sent it to our curious readers, stiifened and hardened 
into the dull, cold forms of the printer's art. 

Xo. — , RrTLAXD Street, Eostox, Xov. 5, 1861. 

My Dear Soldier : — 

This is the first pair of socks I ever knit ; and I send 
tliem to you with my blessing upon the brave defenders 
of my country. I hope they will keep your feet warm, 



TOM SOMEJRS IX THE ARMY. 263 

autl thus keep your heart warm towards God and our 
blessed land. 

Grandma sayg I am a silly girl, and I suppose I 
am ; but if you feel half as much interest in me as I 
do in the person who will wear the first pair of socks 
I ever knit, you will wish to know how I look ; therefore 
I send you my photograph. 

I very much desire to know whether my work has 
done any good ; whether my socks are ever worn in 
a battle ; and most of all, I desire to know how the noble 
fellow looks that wears them. Therefore I beg you to 
answer my letter, and also to send me your photograph, 
if you can conveniently. 

Now, my dear soldier, be brave and true, and, 
above all, do not run away from the rebels with my 
socks on your feet. You may retreat when your officers 
order you to retire ; but if you are a coward, and find 
yourself compelled to run away, please pull them off 
before you do so, for I should die with mortification 
if I thought I had knit a pair of socks for a Union sol- 
dier to run away in. 

Truly yours, for our flag and our country. 

Lilian Ashford. 

'•Well, if that gal ain't a trump, then there ain't 
no snakes in Virginny ! " exclaimed Hapgood. " She's 
got the true grit, and no mistake." 



264 '^^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" That's so," replied the recipient of the gift, thought- 
fully, as he bent down, and began to pull off the sock 
which encased his left foot. 

'^ What are you doing?" demanded Hapgood, sur- 
prised at this new movement of his companion. 

" I can't wear these socks yet, uncle," replied he. 

"Why not?" 

"Don't she say she wants them worn in a battle?'* 

" Tom. you are a little fool ! " added the veteran, 
petulantly. '* Are you going with cold feet just to please 
a silly gal, whose head is as full of moonshine as an 
e^^g is of meat. Put on the socks, and keep your feet 
Avarm. If you don't. I'll write to her, and tell what 
a fool you are." 

Tom did put them on. but he could not help feeling 
that uncle Hapgood, as he was familiarly called in the 
camp, did not understand and appreciate his sentiments. 
The socks seemed to be too precious to be worn in the 
vulgar mud of Maryland. To him there was something 
ethereal about them, and it looked a little like profana- 
tion to put any thing emanating from the fairy fingers 
of the original of that photograph, and the author of 
that letter, upon his feet. 

" Now you act like a sensible fellow, as you are, 
Tom," said Hapgood, as the sergeant put on his army 
brogans. 

''Well, uncle, one thins is certain: I never will run 



TOM SOME-RS IN THE ARMY. 265 

away from the rebels with these socks on," added 
Tom, with a rich glow of enthusiasm. h 

'' If Gen'l McClennon don't stir his stumps pretty 
soon, you'll wear 'em out afore you git a chance to 
run away." 

Tom, almost for the first time since he had been in 
the army, wanted to be alone. With those socks on, 
it seemed just as though he was walking the streets 
of the New Jerusalem, with heaven and stacks of 
silver-fringed and golden-tinged clouds beneath his 
feet, buried up to the eyes in floods of liquid moon- 
shine. 

If '• gi'andma " really thought that Lilian Ashford 
was a silly girl, and if Lilian really supposed so her- 
self, it must be added, in justification of her conduct, 
that she had given the soldier boy a new incentive to 
do his duty nobly, and kindled in his soul a holy aspira- 
tion to serve God and his country with renewed zeal 
and fidelity. 

23 



26(3 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOT, OR 




CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE CONFEDERATE DESERTER. 

(^\^1\ HILE Tom Avas in the hospital, he re- 
ceived a letter from his sister, informing 
him that his brother John had actually 
entered the navy, and with his mother's consent. The 
news from home was so favorable, that the soldier boy 
was pleased to hear that J^^ck had realized his darling 
wish, and that he was now in his element. 

Intelligence from home, accompanied with letters, 
papers, books, comforts, and luxuries of various kinds, 
reached him every two or three Aveeks ; and when the 
ncAvs Avent back that Tom had been made a sergeant 
for gallant conduct, there Avas a great sensation in 
Pinchbrook. The letters which reached him after the 
receipt of this gratifying announcement contained all 
the gossip of the place in regard to the important event. 
Of course, Tom Avas delighted by these letters, and Avas 
more than ever determined to be diligent and faithful 
in the discharge of his duties, and never to disgrace 
the name he bore. He was confident his friends 



TOM SOML'nS IX THE ARMY. 



267 



would never liavc occasion to bliisli for his conduct 

iucluding the original of the photograph, the author 
of the letter and of the socks. 

Tom recovered from the effects of his wound, as we have 
before intimated, and took his place in the regimental line 
as a sergeant. January and February passed away with- 
out any very stirring events ; but in the month of March 
came indications of activity. The rebels began to draw 
in their lines, by abandoning various points, till the 
nation was startled hj the evacuation of their stront^lv 
fortified position at Manassas, and the forts in front of 
Budd's Ferry were suddenly left for the occupation of 
the Federal troops. 

Hooker's men crossed the Potomac, and Tom was once 
more on the sacred soil of Virginia. Skirmishers were 
sent out in various directions, and though a deserted 
camp, which had been liastily abandoned, was found, 
there were no rebels to be seen. The Union boys were 
not disposed to leave their investigations at this interest- 
ing point, and they pursued their way still farther into 
the country. Somehow or other, Tom and his party 
did not receive tlie order to return, and the enterprising 
young hero continued his march in search of further ad- 
ventures. It was altogether too tame for liim and the 
congenial spirits in his section to retire without seein*^ 
a live rebel or two ; and 1 am not sure, if their desire 
had not been gratified, that they would not have pene- 



268 "^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

trated to Fredericksburg, and captured that citadel of 
rebellion in advance of General Augur, who visited the 
place in April. 

As it was, they stumbled upon the pickets of a rebel 
force, and as soon as their uniform was identified they 
had the honor of being fii-ed upon, though none of them 
had the honor of being killed in the midst of their 
virtual disobedience of orders. But their appearance 
created a panic among the Confederates, who had no 
means of knowing that they were not the pioneers of a 
whole division of Union troops, for General McClellan 
had removed the spell which bound the loyal army to its 
camps, and corps, divisions, and brigades were pushing 
forAvard into the dominion of the traitors. 

The alarm was given, and Tom saw that he was rush- 
ing into a bad scrape ; and as prudence is as much a 
requisite of the good soldier as bravery, he ordered his 
men to fall back. Rebels are very much like ill-natured 
curs, ever ready to pursue a retreating foe, or run away 
from an advancing one. The Confederates chased them, 
and as the legs of the former seemed to be in remarkably 
good condition, the sergeant came to the conclusion that 
it would not be safe to run too fast. 

" Halt ! " shouted he ; and the men promptly obeyed 
the order. 

They discharged their muskets, and then made a 
demonstration towards the enemy, who, obeying their 



TOM SO,\fLHS JX THE ARMY. 269 

instinct, ran away as fast as their legs would carry 
them. Taking advantage of this movement on their 
part, Tom again ordered a retreat. 

*' They are after us again," said Hapgood. " I hope 
there ain't no cavalry within hearing. If there is, we 
may take a journey to Richmond." 

'• They have stopped to load their guns," replied 
Tom. " We will use our legs now." 

" See that, Tom ! " said Hapgood, suddenly. 

"What?" 

" There's one of them rushing towards us all alone." 

" He has thro\vn up his gun. The others are yelling 
to him to come back. What does that mean ? " 

*' He is a deserter ; he wants to get away from them. 
There he comes." 

" Yes, and there comes the rest of them — the whole 
rebel army — more than a million of them," said Fred 
Pemberton. " It's time for us to be going." 

" See ! They are firing at him. Forward ! " added 
Tom, leading the way. 

The party rushed forward, for a short distance ; but 
the dozen rebels had been reenforced, and it was mad- 
ness to rush into the very teeth of danger. Tom ordered 
his men to halt and fire at will. The deserter, probably 
finding that he was between two fires, turned aside from 
the direct course he was pursuing, and sought shelter 
in the woods. The sergeant then directed his men to 



270 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

retire, for whether the retreat of the runaway rebel was 
covered or not, it was no longer safe to remain. 

Fortunately the Confederates were more in doubt than 
the Unionists ; and perhaps expecting to fall upon a 
larger body of the latter, they abandoned the pursuit, 
and returned to their posts. Nothing was seen of the 
deserter for some time, and Tom concluded that he had 
lost his way in the woods, or had missed the direction 
taken by the Federal scouts. 

" He was a plucky fellow, any how," said one of the 
men, '• to attempt to run away in the very face of his 
-companions." 

" Well, he timed it well, for he started just when their 
guns were all empty," added another. 

" I'm not sorry he missed us," continued Hapgood. 
" I don't like a desarter, no how. It goes right agin 
my grain." 

" But he Avas running from the wrong to the right 
side," replied Tom. 

" I don't keer if he was. Them colors on t'other side 
were his'n. He chose 'em for himself, and it's mean to 
run away from 'em. If a man's go'n to be a rebel, let 
him be one, and stick to it." 

" You don't know any thing about it, uncle. Thou- 
sands of men have been forced into the rebel army, and 
I don't blame them for getting out of it the best way 
they can. I should do so." 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY 

2/1 

" That ,«ay be, Tom ; (hat may be," added the vet- 

erat,, takins off his cap and rubbing his bald head, a. 

though a new idea had penetrated it. " I didn't tliink 

of that." 

"He's a brave man, wlioever he is, and whatever 
he is." 

" He must want to get away from 'em pretty bad, or 
he wouldn't have run that risk. I shouldn't wonder if 
they hit liim." 

" Perhaps he is wounded, and gone into the woods 
there to die," suggested Tom. 

" Halloo ! " shouted some one in the rear of them. 
" There's jour man," said Hapgood. 
" Halloo ! " cried the same voice. 

"Halloo, yourself!" shouted Hapgood in reply to 
the hail. . "^ 

The party halted, and after waiting a few moments, 
the rebel deserter came in sight. He was apparently a 
n.an of fifty ; and no mendicant of St. Giles, who followed 
I'cggmg as a profession, could have given himself a more 
^<Tetched and squalid appearance, if he had devoted a 
I.le.,me to the study of making himself look miserable. 
He wore a long black and gray beard, uncut and un- 
k.u,pt, and snarled, tangled, and knotted into the most 
fantastic forms. His gray uniform, plentifully bedaubed 
with Virginia mud, was torn in a hundred places, and 
Imng m tatters upon his emaciated frame. On his head 



272 '^^^ SOLDIKR BOY, OR 

was an old felt hatf in a terribly dilapidated condition. 
He wore one boot and one shoe, which he had probably 
taken from the common sewer of Richmond, or some other 
southern city ; they were ripped to such an extent that 
the "uppers" went flipperty-flap as he walked, and had 
the general appearance of the open mouth of the mythic 
dragon, with five bare toes in each to represent teeth. 

As he approached, the unthinking soldiers of the 
party indulged in screams of laughter at the uncouth 
appearance of the whilom rebel ; and certainly the 
character in tableau or farce need not have spoken, 
to convulse any audience that ever assembled in 
Christendom. Rip Van Winkle, with the devastations 
and dilapidations of five-and-twenty years hanging about 
him, did not present a more forlorn appearance than 
did this representative of the Confederate army. 

" What are you laughing at ? " demanded the de- 
serter, not at all delighted with this reception. 

"I say, old felloAv, how long since you escaped 
from the rag-bag?" jeered one of the men. 

"What's the price of boots in Richmond now?" 
asked another. 

"Who's your barber?" 

" Silence, men ! " interposed Tom, sternly, for he 
could not permit his boys to make fun of the wretched- 
ness of any human being. 

" We'll sell you out for paper stock," said Ben 



TO.\r soMhJis J.y thk army. 273 

Lethbridire, who had just returaed from three monthd' 
service in the Rip-Raps for desertion. 

*' Shut up, Ben ! " added Tom. 

** Dry up, all of you ! " said Corporal Snyder. 

'■'• AVlio and -what are you?" asked Tom, of the 
deserter. 

" I'm a Union man I " replied the stranger with 
emphasis ; " and I didn't expect to be treated in this 
way after all, I've suffered." 

** They thought you were a rebel. You wear the 
colors of the rebel army," answered the sergeant, 
willing to explain the rudeness of his men. 

'•• Well, I suppose I do look rather tlie wor?e for 
the wear," added the grayback, glancing down at the 
tattered uniform he wore. " I joineil the rebel army, 
after I had tried every way in the world to get out 
of this infernal country ; but I never fired a gun at a 
Union man. Seems to me. sergeant, I've seen you 
before somewhere. What's your name? Where did 
you come from ? " 

" Pinchbrook, INIas^sachusetts ; arid most of Us hail 
fi'om the same place." 

** Creation ! " exclaimed the deserter. " You don't 
say so ! " 

" Your voice sounds familiar to me," added Tom ; 
and for some reason his chest was heaving violently 
beneath his suddenly accelerated respiration. 



274 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

As he spoke, he walked towards the dilapidated 
rebel, who had not ventured to come within twenty- 
feet of the party. 

" Did you say Pinchbrook?" demanded the stranger, 
who began to display a great deal of emotion. 

" Pinchbrook, sir," added Tom ; and so intensely 
was he excited, that the words were gasped from his 
lips. 

"What's your name?" 

" Thomas Somers," replied the sergeant. 

" Tom ! " screamed the deserter, rushing forward. 

" Father ! " cried Tom, as he grasped the hand of 
the phantom Confederate. 

The soldiers of the party were transfixed with as- 
tonishment at this unexpected scene, and they stood 
like statues gazing at the meeting of father and son, 
till the final development of their relationship, when 
the muscles of their faces relaxed, and the expression 
of wonder gave place to joyous sympathy. 

"Captain Somers, of Pinchbrook!" shouted old 
Hapgood ; and the men joined with him in a roar of 
intense satisfkction, that made the woods ring. 



TOM iO'JfZ.'ifi' jy IU£ AliMl'. 



275 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

ON THE PENINSULA. 

/y^/^ HE scene between Captaia Somers and his son 
f I ^ was very affecting and very exciting ; and if 
V^V the soldiers had all been uncles and first 
cousins of the parties, they could not have manifested 
more interest on the joyous occasion. The father 
wept, and the son wept ; for each, amid the terrible 
experience of these troublous times, had hardly ex- 
pected to meet the other. 

For several minutes they held each other by thQ, 
hand, laughing and weeping alternately, and neither 
being able to express the intense emotions which agitated 
him. The men shouted and laughed in full sympathy 
with the reunited sire and son. 

"I'm glad to sec you, Tom," said Captain Somers, 
as he wiped away the tears that were sliding down 
upon his grizzly beard. " I haven't cried before for 
thirty years ; I'm ashamed of it, Tom, but I can't 
help- it." 

•' I didn't expect to find you here, father, and clothed 



27b 2'^i,' SOLDIER BOY, OR 

in the rebel uniform ; but I'm glad to see you in any 
uniform," replied the soldier boy. 

" So you're in the army, Tom," continued the father, 
gazing with satisfaction at the neat appearance of the 
sergeant. 

" Yes, sir ; I enlisted within a fortnight after we 
heard that the traitors had bombarded Fort Sumter." 

*" I see you've got three stripes on your arm." 

'• Yes, Cap'n Somers," said Hapgood : '' Tom wa3 
made a sergeant for gallant conduct on tlie river in 
December ; and he deserved his promotion too." 

'' I'm glad to see you with that uniform on your 
back, Tom ; and glad to hear that you have behaved 
well." 

'• I was in the battle of Bull Run, father, and was 
taken prisoner ; but I got away." 

" Well, Tom, we'll hear about that bimeby," said 
the old man, stopping and looking nervously into the 
face of his son. "I want to ask a great many ques- 
tions, Tom, but I hardly dare to do it. You know I 
haven't heard a word from home since I left, and it's 
almost a year now." 

" You needn't be afraid, father ; the folks are all 
well. I have got a heap of letters at the camp, and 
you shall read them all as soon as we get there." 

"Is your mother well, Tom?" 

"First rate." 



TO.V SOMEJiS IX THE ARMY. '211 

" And John ? " 

'• Ye.-^, sir: l>iit he's gone into the navy. He was 
bound to be in tlie light any liou'." 

"John's a chip of the oM blork. lie wanted to 
snufF the salt water afore he was a week old. John's 
a good sailor, and he ought to have a good lay wher- 
ever he goes," added the father. 

Captain Somers and Tom sat upon the ground 
for half an hour, until tlie fugitive from the rebel 
army was in some degi'ee rested after the hard run 
he had had through the woods. The soldiers gath- 
ered around them, as much interested as though they 
had been members of the Somers family. Tom's 
father had a multitude of questions to ask about Pinch- 
brook and its people, all of Avhich were answered to his 
satisfaction. 

The sergeant thought it -^vas time for the party to 
move on, and his father declared that he was able to 
walk any distance which would bring him nearer to 
the home of his wife and children. The order was 
given, and the little band resumed its march. 

"How have vou bi'cn all tliis time, father?" asked 
Tom, as he walked along by the side of Captain 
Somers. 

"I've been pretty faiily most of the time. I'm 
tough and hardy, or I should have been dead afore 
this time. AVe've been half starved and half frozen 
24 



278 'J^^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

in the camp ; but I managed to live through it, hoping 
and expecting to get away from those rascally rebels." 

"Where have you been all the time?" asked Tom. 
"Have you been in the rebel army long?" 

" About four months ; but I may as well begin at the 
beginning, and tell you the whole story," added the cap- 
tain. " I got to Norfolk ail right, and was there when 
the news came up that the rebels had taken Sumter. 
Every body was mad, and I was as mad as the rest of 
them, though not exactly in the same way. I let on a 
little with my tongue, and came pretty near being tarred 
and feathered, and I think I should have been, if your 
uncle W}Tnan hadn't interfered." 

"Did he settle with you, ffither?" 

" After a while he did. He had some fifteen thousand 
dollars in Xew York, which had just been sent over 
from England, and as he was secesh, he was terribly 
afeard the Lincoln government would confiscate it ; so 
he settled with me, and gave me a power of attorney to 
draw his money, pay myself, and take care of what 
was over. I've got the papers safe in my waistbands 
now." 

"Good! Glory,hallelujah!" shouted Tom. "JTecan 
pay off* old Pemberton now, for it goes against my grain 
to OM'e a dollar to a traitor. But if uncle "Wyman is a 
rebel, and I suppose he is, I hope the government will 
confiscate what's over after you have paid yourself." 



TO.U SO^fEJiS IX THE A B .yf Y . 279 

*' AVell, I don't know. AVe will see about that biraeby. 
He used me fiiir, and I don't wish him any harm ; but I 
hate his principles. Well, just then, Tom, Avhen I had 
got my accounts squared, the rascals took my vessel, and 
sunk it in the channel to keep the Union fleet out. My 
pipe was out then, and I couldn't do any thing more. I 
hung round the city of Norfolk till I saw there was no 
chance to get out in that direction ; and then I left. 
I was up near Bull Run — the rebels call it Manassas — 
when the battle was fought ; but our folks got licked so 
badly, that it was no use to try to get through there. 
" I tried half a dozen times to craAvl through, and 
had nearly starved to death in the woods ; but some 
rebel cavalry pickets spied me out, called me a traitor, 
and sent me back. My money was all gone by this 
time, and I went over to Norfolk again. Your uncle 
Wyman told me I had better keep quiet where I was, 
for just as sure as his name was Somers, the North 
would all fall to pieces in less than six months. He 
expected the rebel army would be in New York afore 
long, and I should be a great deal better off where I 
was. He tried to get a pass to send me through the 
rebel lines, but he couldn't do it. 

'• Things went on in this way till your uncle Wyman 
went to Charleston on business, and I haven't seen him 
from that day to this. The rebels tried to make me go 
into their navy, but I wouldn't do it, of course ; but 



2g0 "^^^ SOLDIER- BOY, OR 

when I couldn't do any other way, I went into the army, 
hoping I should be sent to the front, and find a chance 
to <Tet away. I've been watching ever since, but I never 
happened to get within twenty miles of the Union pickets 
before. But here I am, and I'm perfectly satisfied with 
the past, though I've sufrered a good deal in one way 
and another." 

By the time Captain Somers had finished his narra- 
tive, the party arrived at the camp. Tom was repri- 
manded very gently for detaching himself from the main 
body of the regiment ; but when he reported the events 
of his excursion, as he had safely returned with his com- 
mand, nothing more was said about his adventure. 

At the camp the Union refugee was provided with 
comfortable clothing ; his hair and beard were trimmed 
doA^Ti to decent proportions, and he was otherwise 
purged of the barbarisms of the rebel camp. But even 
then he did not look like the stout, hearty, healthy Cap- 
tain Somers who sailed from Boston in the Gazelle 
nearly a year before. He was haggard and emaciated 
from anxiety and semi-starvation. 

Captain Somers was warmly welcomed by the mem- 
bers of Company K, who came from Pinchbrook ; and 
when his physical wants had been satisfied, he was sent 
to General Hooker, to communicate to him such intelli- 
gence as he possessed in regard to the position and num- 
bers of the rebel army. He remained at the camp but 



TOM SO ATE lis IX THE A li M Y . 281 

two days, at tlie end of which* time he was scut to 
Washington, and iVom there hastened to his home in 
Pinclibrook. A letter from Tom, announcing the joyful 
intelligence of his return, had preceded him. 

In ten days after parting with his father, the sergeant 
received a full and glowing account of the reception of 
Captain Somers, who became quite a lion in Pinchbrook 
for the time being. He received his money as he passed 
through New York, though not without the aid of a 
government order which he had procured in Washington, 
and only the amount that M-as actually due to him, for 
unclfi Wyman's funds were then in process of beinor 
confiscated. 

The only drawback upon his iixther's happiness was 
the absence of John, who had been drafted into a vessel 
bound to the South. He had not seen him for a year, 
and another year would probably elapse before he could 
expect to realize this pleasure. But the captain's patriot- 
ism had been intensified a hundred fold by his bitter 
experience in Virginia ; and while his twin sons were 
gallantly serving their country in the army and the navy, 
he was willing to sacrifice the yearnings of his paternal 
iieart, and he hoped and prayed that they might do theii- 
duty faithfully. 

Tom's regiment remained on the Potomac but a short 
time after the event we have related. Sharper and 
eterner experience was before these tried soldiers, and 
24* 



232 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

the first indications of active service Avere greeted with 
joyous enthusiasm. Suddenly the camp was broken 
up, and the order to march given. The men wondered 
and speculated upon their destination, and though the 
prophets of the regiments gave' them certain informatior 
in reijard to the direction they were to take, most of 
them were incredulous. One declared they were going 
to Richmond by the way of Fredericksburg ; another, 
by the way of Manassas ; and a third was positive, from 
hints he had seen in the newspapers, that they were 
going down the valley of the Shenandoah, to take the 
capital of Rebeldom on the flank and rear. 

TThile the prophets and wise men were speculating, 
the regiment marched on ; and to the astonishment of 
all, and to the utter confusion of the seers, they were 
embarked in a transport — the steamer Napoleon — 
bound no one knew where. One regiment and half of 
another belonging to the brigade were huddled on board 
of this one steamer. Every foot of standing room was 
occupied, and, of course, the boys were not very com- 
fortably quartered ; but, as Tom expressed it, there 
was music ahead, and the brave hearts- on board were 
ready to stand any thing if they could only get a fight out 
of the rebels. The mortification of their defeat at Bull 
Run still hung heavily on their spirits, and they were 
panting for an opportunity to retaliate upon the foe, and 
win the laurels they had lost upon that disastrous field. 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 283 

The propliets, though their faihire to foretell the 
coming event had cast them into disgrace, were still 
ready to volunteer an opinion. They declared that tlie 
transports were bound to North Carolina, to follow up 
Burnside's successes ; but most of the hieu were content 
to wait till the future should develop itself. 

The troops were eager for active duty, and if they 
could get into the field and strike a heavy blow at the 
rebellion, they did not care where it was. They had 
unbounded confidence in the young general who was 
to organize victory for them, and they were willing to 
obey orders, and leave every thing to him. 

It " thundered all around " them. Roanoke, Pea 
Ridge, Newbern, Winchester, Donelson, were a suc- 
cession of Union victories, which inspired them with 
zeal and courage to endure all hardships,, and face any 
peril which might be in their path. 

The transport descended the Potomac, and came to 
anchor in tlie bay, where they lay one day ; the steamer 
then continued on her course, and landed her troops in 
Cheseman's Creek, an indentation of the peninsula be- 
tween the York and James Rivers. After lying in camp 
a few days, they marched again, and Tom learned that 
the regiment was before Yorkto^vn, which had been 
strongly fortified by the rebels to resist the advance of 
the Union army. 



284 



THE SOLDIER LOT, OR 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



THE BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG. 




(^^|(^' '^ HAT the army of the Potomac achieved 
and suffered before Yorktown, ^ye must 
leave for the historian. Our soldier boy 
was only one hero among thousands who toiled in the 
soft mud of the early spring, who watched and waited 
for the tremendous events which have now passed into 
history, and whose actors will be honored and remem- 
bered by future generations. 

Tom Somers bore his full share of the trials and hard- 
ships of that eventful period ; and Avhen McClellan's 
scientific engineering had driven the rebels from their 
strong works without a struggle to retain them, he 
moved forward with the gallant army. " Oji to Rich- 
mond ! " again sounded along the lines, and the soldiers 
toiled through mud and mire, hoping and expecting to 
strike the final blow that would crush out the rebellion. 

Yorktown was evacuated. The rebels were fleeing 
from their frowning batteries, and the order came for 
Hooker's division to join in the pursuit. At noon the 



TOM no ME US ly THE AEMY. .y^x. 

brigade — now under command of General Grover — 
commenced its forward movement. 

-Rather rough," said Ilapgood, as the regiment 
struggled on through the miro. 

'^ Rather soft, I think," replied Tom, lau-hin- 

*' I hope we haven't got to march far througli tills 
mud," added Ben Lethbridge. 

''That wiU depend upon Iiou- soon Ave come up 
^•ith the rebels. U it rests witli Hooker, I tell vou 
he will get a fight out of the rebs, if such a thing is 
possible." 

After the regiment had marched five or six miles, the 
order came to halt ; and the intelligence passed along the 
column tliat tlie cavahy had come up with the enLv, 
and were waiting the arrival of au intantiy force io 
assist in the attack. 

"Good!" shouted Tom. *'AVe shall have a battle 
before night." 

"Perhaps not," added Hapgood. -It takes the cat 
a good while to catch the mouse, even after she smells 
the critter." 

'^ Why don't we march? Wliat are ^^e stopping here 
for?" said Tom, impatiently. 

" They say Smith's division has got in ahead of us. 
Keep cool, Tom; never be in a hurry for a battle. 
Some of us that stand here now won't be alive in 
twenty.four hours from now; for I don't believe the 



286 ^^^ SOLD I Eh BOY, OH 

rebs are going to let us have it all our ovm way," 
said the veteran. 

" Nor I," added Fred Pembertou. " I shall be killed 
in this fight." 

''How de you know, Fred?" demanded Hapgood, 
sternly. 

" Of course I don't know, but I feel it in my bones 
that I shall fall in the first battle." 

'• Your bones ain't no guide at all. I know some- 
thing about this business, and I've seen croakers afore 
to-day. Don't talk about being killed, or even hit. 
Be ready to die, do your duty like a soldier, and 
leave all the rest to your Maker," said the veteran, 
solemnly. 

" I don't have any such feeling as that. I know I 
shan't be killed," laughed Ben. '• The bullet hasn't 
been cast yet that will stop my wind." 

*' Perhaps it has, my boy. It may be in some rebel 
soldier's cartridije box over A'onder, even nov\^. I tell 
you, boys, you don't know any thing about it. Just 
afore we went in at Cerry Gordy, a feller by my side said 
the same thing you did, Ben ; and he was the first man 
that went down. I tried to pick him up, and do 
something for him, but he was stone dead. I tell you, 
Ben, you don't know any thing about it. Leave it all 
to the Almighty." 

" Pooh, uncle I " sneered Ben, trying to laugh down 



TOM SOAf£ItS IX THJl ARMY. 287 

the solemn words of the old man. " Don't you think 
we'd better have a prayer mectin' before we go 
in?" 

" I think we should fight the better for it, for he 
who trusts in God don't fear death." 

But it was evident that the words of Hapgood, 
especially the incident of Cerro Gordo, had made a deep 
impression upon the mind of the thoughtless young man. 
Though the division did not move for three hours, he 
was very silent and sober. He seemed to feel that he 
Lad been tempting Providence by his bold speech, and 
even expressed his regret to Tom for what he had 
said. 

It was dark when the order to march was given. 
The night was exceedingly gloomy, and the rain poured 
down upon the devoted army, as it moved forward to 
do its great work. Hour after hour, in the deep dark- 
ness and the pouring rain, the men struggled through 
the mire, expecting every moment to be hurled upon 
the rebel battalions, or to meet the impetuous onset 
of the foe. 

Between ten and eleven, when the men were nearly 
worn out by the exhausting labors of the march, they 
were ordered to halt in the road, and bivouac for the 
rest of the night. What a time and what a place for 
repose ! They could only wrap themselves up in their 
wet blankets, and stretch themselves upon the ground, 



2g3 THE SOLDlEJi BOY, OR 

soaked ^villl water, aud with the rain still pouring 
down upon them. But they -slept, and enjoyed their 
rest, for Nature was imperative in her demands. 

At daylight the march was resumed ; for the intrepid 
Hooker, ever faithful to the trust confided to him, wa.s 
wholly in earnest. At half past five the column was 
halted in the woods. The rebel works before Williams- 
burg were in sight, and General Hooker rode to the 
front to examine the position of the enemy. 

In front of the rebel batteries, and on each side of 
the roads, the trees had been felled, in order to give the 
guns in the field works full play upon an approaching 
force. 

" Hurrah ! " shouted some of the boys on the right 
of the column. '• Our brigade is to commence the 
attack." 

"How do you know?" growled Hapgood, who did 
not think a soldier ought to know a'ny thing about the 
plan of the battle. 

" TVe are ordered to move," replied Tom. '' I sup- 
pose that's all they know about it." 

The prophets on the right were coiTect this time, 
for the regiment was soon sent to the right of tho 
road, and ordered to deploy as skirmishers. A bat- 
tery was throAATi forward in front of the felled timber ; 
but before a gun could be fired, two officers and two 
privates were seen to fall before the unerring aim 



TOM SOMEIiS I\ THK ARMY. 289 

of the rebel sharpshooters, occupying the rifle pits 
which dotted the cleared land in front of the forts. 

'' That's a hot place," said Ben Lethbridge. 

" AVe shall all see hot work before the sun goes 
down to-night," replied Tom. " But let us stand up 
to it like men." 

*' That's the talk, Tom I " exclaimed Ilapgood. 
"Have you got those socks on, my boy?" 

'* I have, uncle ; and I have the letter and the pho- 
tograph in my pocket." 

" Good, Tom ! After this day's work is over, you 
can write the lady a letter, and tell her that her socks 
have been in a battle." 

"And that I didn't run away in them." 

The roar of the guns in Fort Magruder interrupted 
the conversation. The gunners of the battery in front 
of them had been driven from their pieces ; but it was 
almost instantly manned by volunteers, and a destruc- 
tive fire poured into the works. Other batteries were 
brought up, and the fort was soon silenced. The roar 
of battle sounded all along the line ; the thunder of 
cannon and the crash of musketry reverberated through 
the woods and over the plain, assuring the impatient 
troops that they were engaged in no trivial affair ; that 
they were fighting a great battle, of Avhich thousands 
yet unborn would read upon the pages of history. 

Our regiment closed up its lines, and the gallant 
25 



290 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

colonel gave the order to move forward in the direction 
of the field works. On, on, steadily and firmly marched 
the men of Massachusetts, through ditch and swamp, 
through mud and mire, loading, firing, and charging, 
as the enemy presented opportunity. The hot work of 
the day had commenced ; for, from every bush, tree, and 
covert, which could conceal a man, the rebels poured 
a deadly fire into the ranks of the advancing Federals. 

Tom stood as firm as a rock. The doubts and fears 
which beset him in his first battle had no existence on 
this day. So thoroughly had he schooled his mind to 
the fearful ordeal of carnage, that he felt quite at home. 
He was cool and determined, and continually encouraged 
those around him by his cheering words as Avell as by 
his example. 

" Ben is down ! " exclaimed Hapgood. 

" Poor felloAv ! " replied Tom, without taking his eye 
off the foe in front. 

•"' There goes Bob Dornton ! " added Hapgood. 

" Stand up to it, my men ! " said Tom, firmly, for he 
had no time then to think of the fallen. 

"' Forward ! " shouted the impetuous colonel, who, 
if he had never been popular with the men before, 
was rapidly establishing himself in their good graces 
by his unflinching heroism. " Forward ! double quick ! 
march ! " 

And on dashed the jrallant rerriment. mountins: the 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARAfV. 99^ 

enemy's lofty works, and driving the foe before them 
like sheep, at the point of the bayonet. This Avas the 
first experience of this exciting description which Tom 
had seen, and he entered into the spirit of it with a 
hearty zeal. 

*' Halt ! " was the order, as a regiment filed out in 
front of them, with a flag of truce flying on its front. 
''Steady — don't fire," repeated several officers along 
the line. 

*•' TVliat regiment are you?" shouted a person, as 
the flag came within speaking distance. 

" What are you?" demanded an officer of the storm- 
ing party. 

" We're the Alabama eighth ! " 

" We are the Massachusetts — th," replied our 
men. 

" Then you are the villains we want?" returned the 
rebel, plentifully interlarding the sentence with oaths. 

The flag of truce dropped, and the dastardly foe 
poured in a volley of musketry, before which a dozen 
of our brave boys fell, either killed or wounded. 

" Fire ! " yelled the colonel ; and the order was 
obeyed with a will. " Charge bayonets ! Forward — 
double quick — march ! " 

The men, burning with indignation at the treachery 
of the rebel horde, sprang forward to wreak their 
righteous vengeance upon the cowardly traitors. So 



292 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

impetuous was the charge, that the rebel regiment 
broke, and sought safety in flight. 

" Down with them ! " hoarsely screamed Tom, as 
the line s'svayed forward, and pursued the panic-stricken 
foe into the woods on the left. The even line was 
broken, and the boys scattered to do their work to 
the best advantage. 

Tom's legs seemed to be in excellent condition, not- 
withstanding the toilsome marches of the last twenty- 
four hours ; and he dashed forward into the woods fol- 
lowed by only a dozen choice spirits, whose enthusiasm 
w^as equal to his ovra.. A squad of flying rebels in front 
of them was the object of their present anxiety, and 
they soon distanced their companions. 

The rebels, seeing by how small a force they were 
pursued, rallied and formed line again. 

"' Give it to them I " cried Tom, as he led his little 
force upon the rebels. 

" Hold on, Tom ! " said Hapgood ; " we have gone far 
enough. There's a rebel regiment forming behind us." 

'' Can't help it," said Tom, as he rushed forward, 
\\'itli the veteran by his side. '* Give it to them I " 

Tom and his men threw themselves upon the rebel 
squad, and a sliarp figlit ensued, in which the parties 
fought with bayonets, clubbed muskets, and even with 
the death grip upon each other's throats. The traitors 
could not stand it. and fled aofain. 



TU.\r 'iOMEHS IX THK ARMY. 293 

The sergeant glanced behind him, and saw thj rebel 
regiment formed ready to charge upon his own. IIu 
was cut off from his friends, with the enemy on his 
front and rear. Three of his men had fallen in the 
sharp encounter with the rebels, and most of them 
were wounded or bruised, and all of them out of breath. 
To add to the peril of the situation, the squad they 
had been pursuing were rallying and being reenforced 
by their fugitive companions. 

" Bad, Tom, bad," said Hapgood, who was puffing 
and blowing like a porpoise, as he ominously sliook 
his head. 

" Follow me ! " said Tom, confidently, as he led the 
way in a direction at right angles with the advance 
of the party. 

Our regiment had reformed again, and soon gave 
that in front of them enough to do. The rebels 
in their rear caused the sergeant's squad no little 
annoyance ; but they continued on their course, load- 
ing and firing as they retreated. 
25* 



294 THE SOLDIER BOY, OH 



CHAPTER XXX. 



MORE OF THE BATTLE. 




(^V^ICt^'^' HILE Tom and his little command were 
working their way back to the Union lines, 
followed up by the disorganized band of 
rebels, a series of most unearthly yells swept over the 
field, for they had emerged from the woods. It was the 
rallying cry of the Confederate regiment which had 
formed in their rear. They were charging upon the Mas- 
sachusetts — th ; but they might as Avell have charged 
upon the Rock of Gibraltar, for presently Tom was de- 
lighted to see them retiring before the tremendous 
onslaught of his friends. ' 

" Hurrah ! " shouted he, forgetting the foe in his 
rear, and pressing forward to that on his front, at the 
same time changing his course so as to approach the 
right wing of the rebel regiment. 

" Don't be rash, Tom," said the old soldier, who 
never permitted the sergeant to leave his side. 

" FoUow me, boys ! " roared Tom, breathless with 
excitement, as he started off on the double quick towards 
the breakinsr lines of the enemy. 



TuM so^fJ::Ji6 jy the army. 295 

" Here we are ! " replied the gallant fellows behind 
him, pushing forward with a zeal equal to that of their 
leader, from whon\they derived their inspiration. "Go 
in, sergeant, and Ave'U stand by you." 

But the bold soldier boy had discretion as well as 
gallantry ; and he saw that if he threw his little force 
upon the rebel line, the whole party Avould be instantly 
annihilated. A covert of bushes fortunately lay on the 
right flank of the retreating regiment, and Tom ordered 
his men to conceal themselves behind it, until a favor- 
able moment should arrive to take their places in the 
lines. 

The men were glad enough to obtain a breathing 
spell ; but, at such a tremendous moment as that, idleness 
would have been treason, for such a glorious oppor- 
tunity to strike a heavy blow had not before occurred. 

" Load up, and fire at will," said Tom, as he charged 
his musket. " Don't throw your lead away either." 

" TVe are a dead shot here if we are any where," 
added Hapgood, as he and the rest of the party hastily 
loaded their muskets. 

Pop went Tom's piece first, and over went the rebel 
at the extreme right of the rebel regiment. There was 
no such thing as missing the mark, for they were on 
the flank of the Confederate line, which the united efforts 
of the officers could hardly preserve. The men in the 
covert fired when they were ready ; and as they carefully 



296 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OB 

observed the injunction of Tom not to waste their lead, 
every shot told upon the rebels. 

The Confederate officers glanced nervously at the 
clump of bushes, which glowed with flashes of fire as 
the sergeant's little command poured in their volleys ; 
but they were too closely pressed by the Federals in 
front to attempt to dislodge them. The rebel privates 
were not long in ascertaining what was so clear to their 
officers — that they were flanked, and were being shot 
down like sheep, from a quarter where they could not 
defend themselves. They had been slowly and doggedly 
retiring before the advancing Federals, disputing every 
inch of gi'ound ; but when they realized that the bolts 
of death were dropping among them from another direc- 
tion, they could no longer endure that awful suspense 
which takes possession of the minds of men when they 
are suspended, as it were, between life and death. 

Tom saw them waver, and he knew what it meant. 
The rebel line was just abreast of him, and he had seen 
at least a score of msn fall before the deadly fire of his 
party. 

" Give it to them, boys ! They shake ! " shouted 
Tom, as he delivered his fire again. " Pour in as fast- 
as you can, but don't waste your powder." 

The men redoubled their exertion, and the rapidity of 
their fire was sensibly increased. The efiect was soon 
perceptible in the rebel ranks ; for the right of the line, 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 297 

probably supposing a company, if not a whole regiment, 
of sharpshooters was concealed in the covert, suddenly 
broke and fled with the utmost precipitation, in spite of 
the gallant efforts of their oflicers to rally them. 

The Federal regiment instantly took advantage of this 
partial panic, and charged furiously upon the rebel 
line. A desperate hand-to-hand encounter ensued, during 
which Tom and his companions emerged from their con- 
cealment, and ran along the rear of the victorious line. 
They soon satisfied themselves of what they had before 
believed — that the regiment was their own; and they 
lost no time in finding the company to which they be- 
longed. They joined in the pursuit, which soon ended 
in the utter rout of the rebel force. 

The position of the enemy's lines did not permit them 
to follow the advantage to any great extent, and the 
order was soon given to fall back. At this juncture the 
regiment, which had been constantly engaged for several 
hours, was relieved ; and not too early in the day, for the 
men were completely exhausted by the furious onslaughts 
thev had made. 

'' Who were those men in the bushes on the flank of 
the rebel regiment ? " demanded the colonel, as he reined 
up his jaded horse in front of Company K. 

" Sergeant Somers and others," replied Captain Benson. 

" Somers again ! " exclaimed the colonel. 

*' Yes, sir. They pursued the regiment into the 



298 "^^^ soLDiEii BOY, on 

woods — the one that showed the flag of truce — till 
they were separated from the rest of us." 

"• Forward, Sergeant Soraers," added the colonel. 

Tom modestly stepped forward, and he would have 
blushed if his face had not been so reddened by his previous 
exertions as to leave no room for a deepening of its tint. 

" You did a big thing, Sergeant Somers. You broke 
that rebel line by your steady fire. Sergeant Somers, I 
thank you and the men you commanded for your good 
service." 

Tom bowed, and the regiment cheered. It was the 
proudest moment of his life to be thanked on the field, 
w^hile the guns were roaring and the musketry rattling, 
for the o-ood service he had rendered. It would form an 
excellent paragraph for his letter to Lilian Ashford, 
especially as he had more than once, in the perils of that 
exciting hour, thought of the socks he Avore, and of the 
letter and the photograph which nestled in his breast 
pocket, and upon which his quick throbbing heart was 
beating the notes of glory and victory. 

" We gave you up for lost," said Captain Benson, 
as Tom returned to the line. 

" We are safe, thank God ! " replied Tom, " though 
three of our number fell in the woods, or on the field 
where we were chased by the rebels." 

" Sergeant Somers saved us," added uncle Hapgood. 
*' If he hadn't been as cool as a cowcumber, and as 



TOM SOMEJiS IX THE AliMY. 299 

Stiff as the mainmast of a frigate, we should have been 
taken, every one of us." 

'' Bravo, Tom ! " said the captain. 

'" The men stood by me like heroes, or it would have 
been all up with the whole of us. They are good fel- 
lows, and they deserve as much credit as I do." 

The battle continued to rage with increasing fury, till 
the roar, and the crash, and the sweep of armed legions 
beggared description. Regiments and brigades advanced 
and fell back with the varying fortunes of the day, but 
as yet there was nothing to indicate the final result. 

When the men of our regiment had recovered their 
breath, an order came for them to proceed to the left. 
On their arrival at the position assigned to them, they 
were immediately led to the front, where the batteries 
which had been pouring a hot fire into the enemy were 
in imminent danger of being surrounded. Indeed, the 
swoop of the rebel infantry upon the guns had already 
been made, and the cannoneers had been driven from 
their stations. With the colonel on the right, and the 
adjutant in command on the left, the regiment charged 
upon the foe, as it had twice before charged on that 
eventful day, with an enthusiasm bordering upon fury. 

The rebels had even spiked one of the guns, and they 
maintained their position with an obstinacy which prom- 
ised the annihilation of one or the other of the contend- 
ing forces. A desperate strife ensued, in which the least 



300 ^'-tfj? SOLDIER BOY, OR 

perceptible advantage was gained by the Federals. 
But if they could do no more, they held the enemy in 
check, till the gunners could charge their pieces with 
grape and canister, which they poured into the rebels 
with the most deadly effect. 

" Hurrah ! " shouted Tom, as the rebels quaked be- 
fore the withering storm of shot belched forth by the 
guns of the battery. '• They shake ! Give it to them ! " 

"Steady, my men! steady," said Captain Benson. 
"The ammunition of the battery is expended," he 
added, as the cannon ceased their work of destruction. 
" We must hold these pieces, and every man must do 
his duty." 

" Ay, ay, sir ! " replied Tom, vigorously, and the 
cry was repeated through the company. 

As soon as the guns were thus rendered useless, the 
enemy swept down upon the supports again, intent upon 
capturing the pieces. They advanced with that terrific 
yell which is enough of itself to frighten a nervous 
man, and with an impetuosity which nothing human 
could resist. Our regiment recoiled under the shock ; 
but it was forced back by the sheer stress of numbers. 

" Rally, men ! Rally, my brave fellows ! " shouted 
the adjutant, in command of the left wing. 

" Stand stiff! Roll them back I " roared the colonel. 

" Steady, men ! " added Captain Benson. 

" Now, give it to them I " screamed Tom, as he 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 



301 



plunged his bayonet into tlie vitals of the rebel in 
front of him, and pushed forward into the very midst 
of the foe. 

The sergeant seemed suddenly to be endowed with thi 
strength of a giant, and he held his own till Hapgood 
sprang to his assistance. The rest of the line, inspired 
by this daring conduct, rushed forward, and fell upon the 
foe with a fury that could not be resisted. 

" Bravo ! Bravo, Tom ! " shouted the captain. 

" Go in, boys ! " roared the lieutenant. 

And the boys " went in," and forced back the rebel 
line, and held the guns until another battery with a sup- 
ply of ammunition arrived upon the ground to relieve 
them. The enemy was again repulsed, and the guns 
were saved by the unflinching heroism of our gallant 
Massachusetts regiment — another paragrapli for the 
letter to Lilian Ashford. 
26 



302 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XXXI 



GLORY AND VICTORY. 



/^^^HE battle now raged more fiercely than ever, 
/ I and hotter and hotter became the fire on every 
^J-^ side. The shouts of the enemy indicated the 
arrival of reenforcements. "Johnston ! " " Longstreet ! " 
resounded over the field, and roused the rebels to re- 
newed activity. More certainly was the increase of the 
enemy's force determined by the gradual falling back 
of the brigade at the left of the road ; but the men 
fought with desperate com'age, and yielded not a foot 
of ground without enriching it- with tlieir best blood. 
There were no signs of reenforcements for our ex- 
hausted troops, though a whole corps was Avithin hearing 
of the booming guns that were slaughtering our out- 
numbered and exhaf^sted brigades. On the field the 
aspect began to be dark and unpromising, and Tom 
prayed with all his soul that he might be spared the 
pain of beholding another defeat, another rout. 

Our regiment was ordered to the support of the peld- 
.ing brigade on the left. The woods were full of rebels, 



TOM HOMERS IN THE A li M Y . 3Q3 

and the issue of the conflict in this part of the field was 
ahnost hopeless. The enemy seemed to be inspired by 
the slight advantage they had gained, and their yells 
were fiercer and more diabolical than ever, as they gath- 
ered themselves up for a desperate onslaught. 

The Federal brigade -was overmatched, and the result 
seemed to waver upon a balance ; then the equilibrium 
was slightly disturbed, and the Union force fell back a 
little, but only a little, and doggedly resisted the advance 
of the foe. It needed but little to restore the equihbrium, 
and our regiment, after struggling through the mud with 
all attainable speed, arrived upon the spot when the 
prospect was so gloomy for the loyal cause. 

The men were almost exhausted by the tremendous 
strain which had all day long been imposed upon their 
nervous systems, and by the physical exertion required 
of them. But the battle was going against the North, 
and they were ready again to make a desperate effort to 
redeem the field. 

" One more of your Massachusetts charges, colonel," 
said General Hooker, as the weary soldiers moved up to 
the endangered position. 

"lou shall have it, general. My men are always 
ready, though they are nearly used up." 

" Hancock and Kearney are close by, and if we 
can hold out a few minutes longer, all will be weH 
whh us." 



304 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" We'll drive them back, general I " shouted the 
colonel. 

" Go in, then ! " added the gallant Hooker, waving 
his SAvord to encourage the soldiers. " Forward ! You 
have no time to lose ! " 

The fiery colonel briefly stated to the regiment the 
nature of the Avork before them, admonished the men to 
do as they had done all day, and Massachusetts Avould 
be proud of them. A ringing cheer was the reply to 
the stirring words of the colonel, and the orders were 
given for the advance. 

On went the brave fellows like a wall of iron, and 
precipitated themselves upon the rebels, buoyant with 
hope as they followed up their temporary advantage. 
The point of attack was all in their favor, and their ex- 
hilarating shouts as they sprang upon the foe kindled up 
the expiring enthusiasm of the yielding brigade to whose 
assistance they had come. The shock was terrible — 
more fearful and destructive than any which our boys 
had before experienced. 

" Steady, my men I " shouted Captain Benson. 

" Give it to them I " roared Tom, maddened to 
desperation by the awful strife around him, and by 
seeing so many of our men fall by his side. 

" Stand up to it ! " shouted the excited colonel. 
" They run ! " 

At this moment an inequality of the ground beneath 



TOM SOMERS y.V THE ARMY. 3^5 

the men of Company K placed them in a bad position, 
and the rebels in front of them, takinc: advantajre of the 
circmnstance, pressed forward, and actually broke throu','Ii 
the line, trampling some of our soldiers beneath their 
feet, and transfixing tliem witli their bayonets. 

A terrible scene ensued at this gap in the ranks, for 
the whole rebel regiment began to press into the weak 
place. The breach was made by the side of our sei"- 
geant, so that he was not l)orne down by the pressure 
of the rebel battalion. 

-Close up!" yelled Tom. •• Close up ! Hail, Co- 
lumbia I and give it to them I " 

Drawing a revolver which he had been permitted 
to retain after the capture of the contraband craft on 
the Potomac, he discharged its six barrels into the fore- 
most of the assailants ; and Hapgood and Fred Pera- 
berton, who were armed in like manner from the same 
source, imitated the example of tlie sergeant. 

" Now give them the bayonet, boys ! " screamed 
Tom, hoarsely, as he plunged into the midst of tlie 
rebels. 

The men on the other side of the gap pushed for- 
ward with equal energy, and the ranks closed up 
again over a pile of dead and wounded rebels, and 
Federals, who had fallen in that sharp encounter. 

*' Bravo ! " shouted General Hooker, whose attention 
had been drawn to the break in the line. " Bravo. 
2<j^ 



306 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

sergeant ! " You shall have a commission ! Forward, 
my brave boys ! Massachusetts sees you ! " 

" Up and at them," cried Tom, as the rebels began 
to yield and break before the tremendous charge of our 
regiment. 

The young sergeant's throat was raw with the shout- 
ing he had done, and his limbs were beginning to yield 
to the fatigues of the day ; but the words of the com- 
mander of the division made him over new again, and 
his husky voice still rang along tlie line, full of new 
courao:e and new eneray to his exhausted comrades. 
The rebels were driven back for the time, and fled before 
the iron masses that crowded upon them. 

The regiment was recalled, and the Aveary troops, now 
almost decimated by the slaughter which had taken 
place in their ranks, were permitted to breathe once 
more. 

" This is awful," said the veteran of Company K, 
panting from the violence of his exertions, '• I never 
saw any thing like this before." 

" Nor I," replied Tom, dropping upon the ground 
with exhaustion. 

" I know something about this business. I thought 
Cerry Gordy was consid'able of a battle, but 'twan't 
nothin' like this." , 

" It's awful," sighed Tom, as he thought of the good 
fellows he had seen fall upon the field. 



TOM SOMERS /X THE ARMY. 3Q7 

" Heaps of our boys have gone down ! " 

"Attention — battalion!" came ringing with star- 
tling effect along the line, in the familiar tones of the 
intrepid colonel. 

" If we win the day, we can afford to lose many. 
Victory or death ! " shouted Tom, as he sprang to his 
- feet, in obedience to the command. " More work 
for us ! " 

"How do you feel, Tom?" demanded the veteran, 
as they sprang into the line. 

" All right," replied Tom, with a forced buoyancy 
of spirits. 

"Are you sure, my boy?" continued the veteran, 
gazing with deep anxiety into the face of the sergeant. 

" I'm first rate, uncle. I think I can stand it as lonjr 
as any body else." 

" You have done wonders to-day, Tom. I'm proud 

of you, but I'm afeard you are doing too much. If you 

are used up, it wouldn't be any disgrace for you to go to 

.the rear. After what you've done, nobody will say a 

word. Don't kill yourself, Tom, but go to the rear." 

" I go to the rear I " exclaimed Tom, Avith indig- 
nation. 

" If you are disabled, I mean, of course," apologized 
the vefteran. 

" I'm not disabled. If I go to the rear with these socks 
on, it won't be till after the breath has left my body." 



3Qg THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

" Socks ! " replied Hapgood, with a sneer. " I'm 
afeard that gal ^vill be the deatli of you." 

" I don't skulk in these socks," replied Tom, with a 
faint smile, as the regiment moved off on the double 
quick to some ncAV position of peril. 

" The rebels are flanking us I " shouted an officer in 
another command, as our regiment hurried forward to 
the endangered point. 

" That's what w^e are wanted for," said Hapgood. 

The enemy had nearly accomplished their purpose 
when our gallant colonel and his jaded force reached 
the left of the line, and in a few moments more would 
have poured a flanking fire into our devoted battalions, 
which were struggling Avith terrible energy to roll 
back the pressure in front of them. 

The colonel had his men well in hand, and he ma- 
noeuvred them vrith consummate skill, so as to bring 
them advantageously to the work they were to per- 
form. The regiment Avas hurled against the head of 
the flankinsr column, and the bovs rushed forward with 
that dash and spirit which had characterized their con- 
duct half a score of times before in various parts of 
the field. 

Tom's muscles had become loose and soft after the 
long-continued strain upon them, and if his soul h^d 
not been ten times as big as his body, he must have 
sunk under the exhaustion of the day. Another des- 



TO.\f J^OAf^JiS /\ THE AJiMY. 399 

perate onslaught was required of the men of our regi- 
ment, and commanding all his energies, Tom braced 
himself up once more for the fearful struggle. 

" How do you feel now, Tom ? " demanded the anxious 
veteran, as he bit off the cartridge, and rammed it home. 

'• First rate, uncle ! " replied Tom, as the regiment 
poured a withering volley into the rebel line. 

'• For Heaven's sake, Tom, don't kill yourself," 
added the old man, as they loaded up again. " Your 
knees shake under you now." 

'' Do you think I'm afraid, uncle ? " demanded the 
sergeant with a grim smile. 

'' No, no, Tom ; of course I don't think any thing 
of the kind. I'm afeard you'll bust a blood-vessel, 
or something of that sort." 

'' If I do, I'll let you know, uncle." 

"Charge bayonets! Double quick — march!" rang 
along the line. 

'' Have at them ! " cried Tom, who was alwavs the 
first to catch the orders of the commanding ofilcer. 
"'' Do\\Ti with them ! Give 'em Yankee Doodle, Hail, 
Columbia, and the Red, White, and Blue." 

The advancing column, shaken by the furious fire 
of our regiment, recoiled before the shock. Slowly 
the foe fell back, leaving heaps of their slain upon 
the hotly-contested ground. Our boys halted, and 
poured in another destructive volley. 



310 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

The Confederate officers rallied their men, and, mad- 
dened by the check they had received, drove them 
forward to recover the lost ground. 

" Once more, boys ! Give it to 'cm again," cried 
Tom, as the order to advance was repeated. 

His words were only representations of his actions ; 
for, as he spoke, he rushed on a little in front of his 
comrades, who, however, pressed forward to keep up 
with him. He did not exceed the orders of his supe- 
rior, but he was one of the promptest to obey them. 
On dashed the regiment, and a^ain the rebel line re- 
coiled, and soon broke in spite of the admirable efforts 
of their officers to keep them steady. 

" Kearney ! Kearney ! Kearney is here ! " shouted 
the weary heroes in various parts of the field. 

" Do"\vn with them ! " roared Tom, as the inspiring 
^vords rang in his ears. " Do"s\ti Avitli them ! Kearney 
has come, and the day is ours ! " 

He had scarcely uttered the Avords, and sprung 
forward, before he was seen to drop upon the ground, 
several paces in front of the line, though the undaunted 
old Hapgood was close by his side. The enemy had 
fled ; the danger of beino: flanked was averted ; and 
Avhen Kearney's men dashed on the field, the sad-hearted 
veteran, assisted by Fred Pemberton, bore the silent 
form of the gallant sergeant to the rear. 

Kearney and Hancock rushed gallantly to the rescue 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. ^H 

of the exhausted troops, and Hooker's division was 
ordered to the rear to act as a reserve. The strife 
raged with unabated fury as those who had borne the 
brunt of the battle slowly fell back to give place to 
the fresh legions. % 

Poor Tom was tenderly carried by the wiry veteran 
and his friends to the surgeon's quarters in the rear. 
There were tears in the eyes of the old man as he 
laid the silent form of his protege upon the wet ground. 
There he sat by his charge, sorrowful beyond expres- 
sion, till tremendous shouts rent the air. Tom opened 
his eyes. 

" Glory and Victory ! " shouted he, in husky tones, 
as he sprang to his feet. 



g^2 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 



CHAPTER XXXII. 



HONORABLE MENTION. 



Z^^*" HE surgeon examined Tom's wound, and found 
/ I that he had been struck by a bullet over the 

vJ-/ left temple. The flesh was torn off, and if 
the skull was not fractured, it had received a tremen- 
dous hard knock. It was probably done at the instant 
when he turned to rally the men of Company K, and 
the ball glanced under the visor of his cap, close enough 
to scrape upon his skull, but far enough off to save 
his brains. Half an inch closer, and the bullet would 
have wound up Tom's earthly career. 

The shock had stunned him. and he had dropped 
like a dead man, while the profusion of blood that 
came from the wound covered his face, and his friends 
could not tell whether he was killed or not. He was 
i\ pitiable object as he lay on the ground by the sur- 
geon's quarters ; but the veteran soon assured himself 
that his young charge was not dead. 

Ilapgood washed the gore from his face, and did 
what he could in his unscientific manner ; and probably 



TOM aOMJ^JiS IiV THJi AHMY. y^jj 

the cold water had a salutary effect upon the patient, 
fur when Hancock and Kearney had completed their 
work, and the cry of victory rang over the bloody 
tield, he was sufficiently revived to hear the inspiring 
tones of triumph. Leaping to his feet, faint and sick 
as he was, he took up the cry, and shouted in unison 
with the victors upon the field. 

But he had scarcely uttered the notes of glory and 
victory before his strength deserted him, and he would 
have dropped upon the ground if he had not been 
caught by Hapgood. He gi'oaned heavily as he sank 
into the arms of his friend, and yielded to the faint- 
ness and exhaustion of tlie moment. 

The surgeon said the wound was not a very bad one, 
but that the patient was completely Avorn out by the 
excessive fatigues of march and battle. In due time 
he was conveyed to the college building in Williams- 
burg, . where hundreds of his companions in arms 
were suffering and dying of their wounds. He received 
every attention which the circumstances would permit. 
Hapgood, by sundry vigorous applications at head- 
quarters, was, in consideration of his owu and his 
•protege's good conduct on the battle field, permitted 
to remain with the patient over night. 

The sergeant's skull, as we have before intimated, 
was not very badly damaged, as physical injuries 
were measured after the bloody battle of that day. 
27 



314 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

But lii3 wound was not the only detriment he had 
experienced in the trying ordeal of that terrible day. 
His constitution had not yet been fully developed ; his 
muscles were not hardened, and the fatigues of battle 
and march had a more serious effect upon him than 
the ounce of lead which had struck him on the fore- 
head. 

The surgeon understood his case perfectly, and after 
dressing his wound, he administered some simple restora- 
tives, and ordered the patient to go to sleep. On the 
night of the 3d of May, he had been on guard duty ; 
on that of the 4th, he had obtained but three hours' 
sleep ; and thus deprived of the rest which a gi'owing 
boy needs, he had passed through the fearful scenes of 
the battle, in which his energies, mental and physical, 
had been tasked to their utmost. He was completely 
Avorn out, and in spite of the surroundings of the hos- 
pital, he went to sleep, obeying to the letter the orders 
of the^ surgeon. 

After twelve hours of almost uninterrupted slumber, 
Tom's condition was very materially improved, and when 
the doctor went his morning round, our sergeant buoy- 
antly proposed to join his regiment forthwith. 

" Not yet, my boy," said the surgeon, kindly. " I 
shall not permit you to do duty for at least thirty days 
to come," he added, as he felt the patient's pulse. 

" I feel pretty well, sir," replied Tom. 



TOM SOMERS lY THE ARMY. 3^5 

" Xo, you don't. Your regiment will remain here, I 
learn, for a few days, and you must keep quiet, or you 
will have a fever." 

" I don't feel sick, and my head doesn't pain me 
a bit." 

•• Tliat may be, but you are not fit for duty. You did 
too much yesterday. They say you behaved like a hero, 
on the field." 

'• I tried to do my duty," replied Tom, liis pale cheek 
suffused with a blush. 

•' Boys like you can't stand much of such work as 
tliat. AVe must fix you up for the next battle ; and you 
shall go into Eichmond with the rest of the boys." 

'' Must I stay in here all the time ? " 

" No, you may go where you please. I will give you 
a certificate which will keep you safe from harm. You 
can walk about, and visit your regiment if you wish." 

" Thank you, doctor." 

Hapgood had been compelled to leave the hospital 
before his patient waked, and Tom had not yet learned 
any thing in regard to the casuaUies of the battle. 
Armed with the surgeon's certificate, he lefl the hospital, 
and walked to the place where the steward told him he 
would find his regiment. Somewhat to his astonish- 
ment he found that he was very weak ; and before he 
had accomplished half the distance to the camp, he came 
to the conclusion that he was in no condition to carry a 



3J6 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

knapsack and a musket on a long march. But after 
resting himself for a short time, he succeeded in reach- 
ing his friends. 

He Avas warmly received by his companions, and the 
veteran of the company had nearly hugged him in his 
joy and admiration. 

'' Honorable mention, Tom," said Hapgood. " You 
will be promoted as true as you live." 

" O, I guess not," replied Tom, modestly. " I didn't 
do any more than any body else. At any rate, you were 
close by my side, uncle." 

" Yes, but I followed, and you led. The commander 
of the division says you shall be a lieutenant. He said 
so on the field, and the colonel said so to-day." 

"I don't think I deserve it." 

" I do ; and if you don't get a commission, then there 
ain't no justice left in the land. I tell you, Tom, you 
shall be a brigadier if the war lasts only one year 
more." 

" O, nonsense, uncle ! " 

"Well, if you ain't, you ought to be." 

" I'm lucky to get out alive. Whom have we lost, 
uncle?" 

" A good many fine fellows," replied Hapgood, shaking 
Lis head, sadly. 

"Poor Ben dropped early in the day." 

"Yes, I was afraid he'd got most to the end of his 



TOAf SOME US I\ T II K ARMY. 3^7 

chapter iitbre we went in. Poor fellow ! I'm sorry for 
him, and sorry for his folks." 

'• Fred Pemberton said he should be killed, and Ben 
said he should not, you remember." 

'' Yes, and that shows how little we know about these 
things." 

" Bob Dornton was killed, too." 

" No, he's badly hurt, but the surgeon thinks he will 
git over it. The ca|vn was slightly wounded." And 
Hapgood mentioned the names of those in the company 
who had been killed or wounded, or were missins:. 

'' It was an awful day," sighed Tom, when the old 
man had finished the list. '• There will be sad hearts in 
Pinchbrook when the news gets there." 

" So there will, Tom ; but we gained the day. TTe 
did somethipg handsome for ' Old Glory,' and I s'pose 
h's all right." 

'• I would ratlu-r have been killed than lost the 
battle." 

'" So would I ; and betwixt you and me, Tom, you 
didn't come very fur from losing your number in the 
mess," added the veteran, as he thrust his little finsrer 
into a bullet hole in the breast of Tom's coat. " That 
was rather a close shave." 

'' I felt that one, but I hadn't time to think about it 
then, for it was just as we were repelling that flank 
movement," replied Tom, as he unbuttoned his coat, 
27 * 



318 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

and thrust his hand into his breast pocket. " Do you 
suppose she Avill give me another ? " he added, as he 
drew forth the envelope -which contained the letter and 
the photograph of the author of his socks. 

A minie ball had found its way through the envelope, 
grinding a furrow through the picture, transversely, carry- 
ing away the chin and throat of the young lady. The 
letter was mangled and minced up beyond restoration. 
Tom had discovered the catastrophe when he waked up 
in the hospital, for his last thought at niglit, and his 
first in the morning, had been the beautiful Lilian Ash- 
ford. He was sad when he first beheld the wreck ; but 
when he thought what a glorious assurance this would be 
of his conduct on the field, he was pleased with the idea ; 
and while in his heart he thanked the rebel marksman 
for not putting the bullet any nearer to the vital organ 
beneath the envelope, he was not ungrateful for the 
splendid testunonial he had given him of his position 
during the battle. 

" Of course she'll give you another. "Won't she be 
proud of that picture when she gets it back ? " 

" If I had been a coward, I couldn't have run away 
with those socks on my feet." 

Tom remained with the regiment several hours, and 
then, in obedience to the surgeon's orders, returned to the 
hospital, where he wrote a letter to his father, contain- 
insf a short account of the battle, and another to Lilian 



TOM SOMERS IX THE ARMY. 319 

Ashford, setting forth the accident which had happened 
to the picture, and begging her to send him another. 

I am afraid in this last letter Tom indulged in some 
moonshiny nonsense ; but we are willing to excuse him 
for saying that the thought of the beautiful original 
of the photograph and the beautiful author of his socks 
had inspired him with courage on the battle field, and 
enabled him faitlifully to perform his duty, to the honor 
and glory of the flag beneath whose starry folds he had 
fought, bled, and conquered, and so forth. It would not 
be unnatural in a young man of eighteen to express 
as much as this, and, we are not sure that he said 
any more. 

The next day Tom was down with a slow fever, 
induced by fatigue and over-exertion. He lay upon 
liis cot for a fortnight, before he was able to go out 
again ; but he was frequently visited by Hapgood and 
other friends in the reijiment. About the middle of the 
montli, the brigade moved on, and Tom was sad at the 
thought of lying idle, while the glorious work of the 
army was waiting for true and tried men. 

Tom had received '' honorable mention " in tJie report 
of the colonel, and his recommendation, supported by that 
of the general of the division, brought to the hospital 
his commission as second lieutenant. 

" Here's medicine for you," said the chaplain, as he 
handed the patient a ponderous envelope. 



320 ^-^-^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

''What is it, sir?" 

" I dou't kno^v, but it has an official look." 

The sergeant opened it, and read the commission, duly 
signed by the governor of Massachusetts, and counter- 
signed and sealed in proper form. Tom was astounded 
at the purport of the document. He could hardly believe 
his senses ; but it read all right, and dated from the day 
of the battle in which he had distinguished himself. 
This was glory enough, and it took Tom forty-eight hours 
thoroughly to digest the contents of the envelope. 

Lieutenant Somers ! The words had a queer sound, 
and he could not realize that he was a commissioned 
officer. But he came to a better understanding of the 
subject the next day, when a letter from Lilian Ashford 
was placed in his hands. It was actually addressed to 
" Lieutenant Thomas Somers." She had read of his 
gallant conduct and of his promotion on the battle field 
in the newspapers. She sent him two photographs of 
herself, and a sweet little letter, begging him to return 
the photograph which had been damaged by a rebel 
bullet. 

Of course Tom complied with this natural request ; 
but, as the surgeon thought his patient would improve 
faster at home than in the hospital, he had procured 
a furlough of thirty days for him, and the lieutenant 
decided to present the photograph in person. 



TOM SOMJLhS J±\ THE ARMY. 32I 




CHAPTER XXXIII. 

LIEUTENANT SO!HERS AND OTHERS. 

OM SOMERS had been absent from home 
I nearly a year ; and much as his heart was in 
the work of putting down the rebellion, he was 
delighted with the thought of visiting, even for a brief 
period, the loved ones who thought of and prayed for 
him in the little cottage in Pinchbrook. I am not quite 
sure that the well-merited promotion he had just re- 
ceived did not have some influence upon him, for it 
would not luive been unnatural for a vounf? man of 
eighteen, who had won his shoulder-straps by hard fight- 
ing jon a bloody field, to feel some pride in the laurels he 
had earned. Not that Tom was proud or vain ; but he 
was moved by a lofty and noble ambition. It is quite 
likely he wondered what the people of Pinchbrook would 
say when he appeared there with the straps upon his 
shoulders. 

Of course he thought what his father would say, what 
his mother would say, and he could see the wrinkled 
face of gran'ther Greene expand into a genial smile 



322 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

of commendation. It is quite possible that he had even 
more interest in his reception at No — Rutland Street, 
when he should present himself to the author and 
finisher oC those marvellous socks, which had wielded 
such an immense influence upon their wearer in camp 
and on the field. Perhaps it was a weakness on the part 
of the soldier boy, but we are compelled to record the 
fact that he had faithfully conned his speech for that 
interesting occasion. He had supposed every thing she 
would say, and carefully prepared a suitable reply to 
each remark, adorned with all the graces of rhetoric 
within his reach. 

With the furlough in his pocket, Tom obtained his 
order for transportation, and with a light heart, full of 
pleasant anticipations, started for home. As he was 
still dressed in the faded and shattered uniform of a 
non-commissioned officer, he did not attract any particu- 
lar notice on the way. He was enabled to pass through 
Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, without being 
bored by a public reception, which some less deserving 
heroes have not been permitted to escape. But the peo- 
ple did not understand that Tom had a second lieutenant's 
commission in his pocket, and he was too modest to 
proclaim the fact, which may be the reason why he was 
suffered to pass through these gi-eat emporiums of trade 
without an escort, or other demonstration of respect 
and admiration. 



TOM SO ME US IX THE ABMV. 323 

Tom's heart jumped with strange emotions when he 
arrived at Boston, perhaps because he was within a few 
miles of home ; possibly because he was in the city 
that contained Lilian Ashford, for boys will be silly in 
spite of all tlie exertions of parents, guardians, and 
teachers, to make them sober and sensible. Such ab- 
surdities as " the air she breathes," and other rhapsodies 
of that sort, may have flitted through his mind ; but we 
are positive that Tom did not give voice to any such 
nonsense, for every body in the city was a total stranger 
to him, so far as he knew. Besides, Tom had no notion 
of appearing before the original of the photograph in the 
rusty uniform he wore ; and as he had to wait an hour 
for the Pinchbrook train, he hastened to a tailor's to 
order a suit of clothes which would be appropriate to 
his new dignity. 

He did order them, was duly measured, and had 
given the tailor his promise to call for the garments at 
the expiration of five days, when the man of shears dis- 
turbed the serene current of his meditations by suggest- 
ing that the lieutenant should pay one half of the price 
of the suit in advance. 

" It is a custom we adopt in all our dealings with 
strangers," politely added the tailor. 

" But I don't propose to take the uniform away until 
it is paid for," said Tom, blushing with mortification : 



324 "^f^E SOLDIER Buy, OR 

for it so happened that he had not money enough to meet 
the demand of the tailor. 

" Certainly not," blandly replied Shears ; " but we 
cannot make up the goods with the risk of not disposing 
of them. They may not fit the next man who wants 
such a suit." 

*' I have not the money, sir ; " and Tom felt that the 
confession was an awful sacrifice of dignity on the part 
of an oificer in the army of the Potomac, who had 
fought gallantly for his country on the bloody fields of 
Williamsburg and Bull Run. 

" I am very sorry, sir. I should be happy to make 
up the goods, but you will see that our rule is a rea- 
sonable one." 

Tom wanted to tell him that this lack of confidence 
was not a suitable return of a stay-at-home for the peril 
and privation he had endured for him ; but he left 
in disgust, hardly replying to the flattering request of 
the tailor that he Avould call again. "With his pride 
touched, he walked down to the railroad station to 
await th^ departure of the train. He had hardly en- 
tered the building before he discovered the familiar 
form of Cantain Barnev, to whom he hastened to 
present himself. 

" Why, Tom, my hearty ! " roared the old sea cap- 
tain, as he grasped and wrung his hand. "I'm glad 
to see you. Shiver my mainmast, but you've groT\Ti a 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY 



325 



foot since you went away. But you don't look well, 
Tom." 

'' I'm not very well, sir ; but I'm improving very 
rapidly." 

"How's yoiu* wound?" 

" O, that's almost well." 

*' Sit down, Tom. I want to talk with you," said 
Captain Barney, as he led the soldier boy to a seat. 

In half an hour Tom had told all he knew about 
the battle of "Williamsburg, and the old sailor had com- 
municated all the news from Pinchbrook. 

" Tom, you're a lieutenant now, but you haven't 
got on your uniform," continued Captain Barney. 

" No, sir," replied Tom, laughing. " I went into a 
store to order one, and they wouldn't trust me." 

" T\^ouldn't trust you^ Tom ! " exclaimed the cap- 
tain. " Show me the place, and I'll smash in their 
deadlights." 

" I don't kno-w as I blame them. I was a stranger 
to them." 

" But, Tom, you mustn't go home without a uniform. 
Come with me, and you shall be fitted out at once. 
I'm proud of you, Tom. You a^'c one of my boys, 
and I want you to go into rinchbrook all taut and 
trim, with your colors flying." 

" "SVe haven't time now ; the train leaves in a few 
moments." 

28 



326 '^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

'•' There will be another iu au hour. The folks are 
all well, and don't know you're coming ; so they can 
afford to wait." 

Tom consented, and Captain Barney conducted him 
to several stores before he could find a ready-made 
uniform that would fit him ; but at last they found one 
■which had been made to order for an officer who was 
too sick to use it at present. It was an excellent fit, and 
the young lieutenant was soon arrayed in the garments, 
with the symbolic straps on his shoulder. 

" Bravo, Tom ! You look like a new man. There 
isn't a better looking officer in the service.'* 

Very likely the subject of this remark thought so too, 
as he surveyed himself in the full-length mirror. The 
old uniform, with two bullet-holes in the breast of the 
coat, was done up in a bundle and sent to the express 
office, to be forwarded to Pinchbrook. Captain Barney 
then walked with him to a military furnishing store, 
where a cap, sword, belt, and sash, were purchased. 
For some reason Avhich he did not explain, the captain 
retained the sword himself, but Tom was duly invested 
with the other accoutrements. 

Our hero felt '' pretty good," as he walked down to 
the station with his friend ; but he looked splendidly in 
his new outfit, and we are "^"illing to excuse certain im- 
pressible young ladies, who cast an admiring glance at 
him as he passed down the street. It was not Tom's 



TOAf SOMEJtS IX THI'J ARMY. 327 

fault that he was a handsome young man ; and he 
"svas not responsible lor the conduct of those who chose 
to look at him. 

With a heart beating with wild emotion, Tom stepped 
out of the cars at Pinchbrook. Here he was compelled 
to undergo the penalty of greatness. His friends cheered 
him, and shook his hand till his arm ached. 

Captain Barney's wagon was at the station, and be- 
fore going to his own home, he drove Tom to the little 
cottage of his father. I cannot describe the emotions 
of the returned soldier when the horse stopped at the 
garden gate. Leaping from the vehicle, he rushed into 
the house, and bolted into the kitchen, even before the 
familv had seen the horse at the front erate. 

" How'd ye do, mother?" cried Tom, as he threw 
himself pell-mell into the arms of Mrs. Somers. 

" Why, Tom ! " almost screamed she, as she re- 
turned his embrace. "How do you do?" 

"Pretty well, mother. How do you do, father?" 

" Glad to see you," replied Captain Somers, a^ he 
seized his son's hand. 

" Bless my soul, Tom I " squeaked gran'ther Greene, 
shaking in every fibre of his frame from the com- 
bined influence of rhapsody and rheumatism. 

Tom threw both arms around Jenny's neck, and 
kissed her half a dozen times with a concussion like 
that of a battery of light artillery. 



328 ^-^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

'' "Why, Tom ! I never thought nothin' of seein' you ! " 
exclaimed Mrs. Somers. " I thought you was sick in 
the hospital." 

" I am better now, and home for thirty days." 

" And got your new rig on," added his father. 

" Captain Barney wouldn't let me come home with- 
out my shoulder-straps. I met him in the city. He 
paid the bills." 

*'ril make it all right with him." 

'' I'll pay for it by and by. You know I have over 
a hundred dollars a month now." 

" Gracious me ! " ejaculated Mrs. Somers, as she 
gazed with admiration upon the new and elegant 
uniform which covered the fine form of her darling 
boy. 

Presently Captain Barney came into the house, and 
for two hours Tom fought his battles over again, to the 
great satisfaction of his partial auditors. The day 
passed off amid the mutual rejoicings of the parties ; 
and the pleasure of the occasion was only marred by 
the thought, on the mother's part, that her son must 
soon return to the scene of strife. 

The soldier boy — we beg his pardon ; Lieutenant 
Somers — hardly went out of the house until after 
dinner on the following day, when he took a walk 
down to the harbor, where he was warmly greeted 
by all his friends. Even Squire Pemberton seemed 



TO AT SO ME Its IX THE ARMY. 329 

kindly disposed towards him, aud asked him many 
questions in regard to f'red. Belbre he went home, 
he was not a little startled to receive an invitation 
to meet some of his friends in the town hall in 
the ev«?ning, which it was impossible for him to 
decline. 

At the appointed hour, he appeared at the hall, which 
was filled with people. The lieutenant did not know 
what to make of it, and trembled before his friends as 
he had never done before the enemies of his country. 
He was cheered lustily by the men, and the women 
waved their handkerchiefs, as though he had been a 
general of division. But his confusion reached the 
climax when Captain Barney led him upon the plat- 
form, and Mr. Boltwood, a young lawyer resident in 
Pinchbrook, proceeded to address him in highly com- 
plimentary terms, reviewing his career at Bull Run, on 
the Shenandoah, on the Potomac, to its cuknination at 
"Williamsburg, and concluded by presenting him the 
sword which the captain had purchased, in behalf of 
his friends aud admirers in his native to^\^l. 

Fortunately for Tom, the speech was long, as he was 
enabled in some measure to recover his self-possession. 
In trembling tones he thanked the donors for their oift 
and promised to use it in defence of his country as 
long as a drop of blood was left in his veins — highly 
poetical, but it required strong terms to express our 
28* 



330 ^^^ SOLDIER BOY, OR 

hero's enthusiasm — whereat the men and boys ap- 
plauded most vehemently, and the ladies flourished their 
cambrics with the most commendable zeal. Tom bowed 
— bowed again — and kept bowing, just as he had seen 
General McClellan bow when he was cheered by the 
troops. As the people would not stop applauding, 
Tom, his face all aglow with joy and confusion, de- 
scended from the platform, and took his seat by the 
side of his mother. 

The magnates of Pinchbrook then made' speeches — 
except Squire Pemberton — about the war, patriotism, 
gunpowder, and eleven-inch shot and shells. Every- 
body thought it was " a big thing," and went home 
to talk about it for the next week. Tom's father, and 
mother, and sister, and gran'ther Greene, said ever so 
many pretty things, and every body was as happy as 
happy could be, except that John was not at home to 
share in the festivities. Letters occasionally came from 
the sailor boy, and they went to him from the soldier 
boy. 

Mrs. Somers was not a little surprised, the next 
day, to hear her son announce his intention to take 
the first train for the city ; but Tom could not post- 
pone his visit to Xo — Rutland Street any longer, for 
he was afraid his uniform would lose its gloss, and 
the shoulder-straps their dazzling brilliancy. 

Tom's courage had nearly forsaken him when he 



TOM SOMERS IN THE ARMY. 331 

desperately rang the bell at the home of Lilian Ash- 
ford ; and he almost hoped the servant ■would inform 
him that she was not at home. Lilian was at home, 
and quaking like a condemned criminal before the 
gallows, he was ushered into the presence of the author 
of his socks. 

Stammering out his name he drew from his pocket 
the battered photograph and the shattered letter, and 
proceeded at once to business. Lilian Ashford blushed, 
and Tom blushed — that is to say, they both blushed. 
WTien he had presented his relics, he ventured to look in 
her face. The living Lilian was even more beautiful 
than the Lilian of the photograph. 

" Dear me ! So you are the soldier that wore the 
socks I knit," said Lilian ; and our hero thought it 
was the sweetest voice he ever heard. 

*' I am. Miss Ashford, and I did not run away in 
them either." 

" I'm glad you did not," added she, with a musical 
laugh, which made Tom think of the melody of the 
spheres, or some such nonsense. 

" I have to thank you for my promotion," said Tom, 
boldly. 

'' Thank me ! " exclaimed she, her fair blue eyes 
dilating with astonishment. 

"The socks inspired me with courage and forti- 
tude," replied Tom, in exact accordance with the 



332 THE SOLDIER BOY, OR 

programme lie had laid down for the occasion. " I 
am sure the thought of her who knit them, the beau- 
tiful letter, and the more beautiful photogi-aph, enabled 
me to do that Avhich won my promotion." 

'• Well, I declare ! " shouted Lilian, in a kind of 
silvery scream. 

Bravo, Tom ! you are getting along s^Hmmingly. 
And he said sundry other smart things which we 
have not room to record. He staid half an hour, and 
Lilian begged him to call again, and see her grand- 
mother, who was out of town that day. Of course 
he promised to come, promised to bring his photograph, 
promised to write to her when he returned to the 
army — and I don't know what he did not promise, 
and I hardly think he knew himself. 

But the brief dream ended, and Tom went home to 
Pinchbrook, after he had sat for his picture. The 
careless fellow left Lilian's photograph on the table 
in his chamber a few days after, and his mother 
wanted to know whose it was ; and the whole story 
came out, and Tom was laughed at, and Jenny made 
fun of him, and Captain Barney told him he was a 
match for the finest girl iu the country. The lieu- 
tenant blushed like a boy, but rather enjoyed the 
whole thing. 

A sad day came at last, and Tom went back to 
the army. He went full of hope, and the blessing 



TO^r :iOM£IiS J .\ THL ARMY. 333 

of the loved ones went witli him. He was re- 
ceived with enthusiasm by his old companions in 
arms, and Ilapgood — then a sergeant — still declared 
that he would be a brigadier in due time, — or, if 
he was not, he ought to be. His subsequent career, 
if not always as fortunate as that portion which 
we have recorded, was unstained by cowardice or 
vice. 



"W^OOID^V^IX^XiE STORIES- 

BY OLIA^ER OPTIC. 

<>oXKcK= 

I. 
RICH A:XI> HXT>rBLE; 

Or, The IVtission. of Bertha Grrant. 

II. 
rX SCHOOL J^JVO OXJT; 

Or, The ConcLiiest of Richard GJ-rant. 

III. 
Or, the Yol-iiaa: Fugiti^-es. 

(In preparation.) 

IV. 

(In preparatiun.) 

V. 
HOI»E ^>I> HAVE. 

(In preparstton.) 

VT. 

(In preparation.) 



LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers. 



RIVE RD ALE STORY BOOKS. 

BY OLI^^EK OPTIC. 

12 vols., in ucat box. 

I. 
THE LITTI-iE lS/i:EI^OHA.lSrT. 

THEE T^'OXJlSrO "VO"^uA.Ca-ER,S- 

III. 
THE CK[I^ISTIvrA.S OIFT- 

IV. 

V. 

XJlSrCLE BEIT- 

VI. 
BIR,TIi-ID.A.-5£" I=A.PIT"^. 

VIT. 

Vlll. 
C-A.REI-.ESS K:A.TE- 

IX. 

ROBIKTSOlSr CR,XJSOE, JI^, 

X. 

THE I'IClSriC I=»-A.ItT'^- 

XI. 
THE OOLID THISv^BLE. 

XII. 
THE IDO-SOI-IETHIJSra-S. 



LKK «& SHEPARr), . . . Fublislier.s. 



LIBRARY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 

BY OLIVER OFTIC. 

»ol«<o« 

T. 

THE BOAT CLUB: 

OE, THE BUNEIEIIS OF BIPPLETON. 
II. 

ALL ABOAED; 

OK, LIFE ON THE LAKE. 
III. 

LITTLE BY LITTLE; 

OB, THE CRUISE OP THE FLYAWAY. 
lY. 

TEY AGAIN; 

OK, THE TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS OP HARRY WEST. 

V. 

NOW OE l^EVEE; 

OR, THE ADVENTUPvES OF BOBBY BRIGHT. 

VI. 

POOE AND PEOUD; 

OK, THE FORTUNES OF KATY REDBURN. 
Six volumes, put up in a neat box. 



LEE &: SHEF^AJRD, F»ubHsliera. 



RARK BOOK 
COLLECTION 




THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

AT 

CHAPEL HILL 

Wilmer 
20